‘Sexting’ in Massachusetts Could Lead to Child Pornography Charges and Sex Offender Status

In the United States, a number of arrests involving teenagers and young adults ‘sexting’ have led to media speculation about this new activity that has grown popular among young people. ‘Sexting,” involves sending nude or semi-nude pictures via text message.

While this may appear like a new and harmless way for teenagers especially to express their raging hormones, law enforcement officials and school authorities are taking this new form of texting seriously. Students in at least 12 US states have been charged with possessing and sending child pornography.

In Massachusetts, six Falmouth middle school students, ages 12 to 14, were brought in for questioning over a picture of a partially nude 13-year-old girl that was sent via text message in January. Five of them may face child pornography charges. If convicted of this Massachusetts felony crime, they would have to register as sexual offenders.

In Kansas, seven people, including five minors were arrested for using their cell phones for ‘sexting’ nude photos. In California, Orange County middle school students were suspended after a 14-year-old girl’s nude pictures were sent via text to other students.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, one in five teenagers admits to sending out semi-nudes or nude photos of themselves via text messaging. 39% of teens say they have sent sexually suggestive messages, while 48% say they have received such messages.

In many instances, a ‘sexting’ youth may not even know that he or she is doing anything illegal and is just having fun or trying to fit in. Yet ‘sexting’ is hardly a child’s game, considering that a felony charge for child pornography can have serious, adult-like ramifications.

Report: Boy Won’t Be Charged In ‘Sexting’ Case, WBZ.com, March 7, 2009
Los Alamitos Students Caught ‘Sexting,’ MSNBC.com, March 19, 2009
Sexting’ Teens May Face Child Porn Charges, ABC News, February 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Sex + Texting = Sexting, Washington Post, December 10, 2008
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

If your son or daughter has been arrested for ‘sexting’ or for another Massachusetts sex crime, please contact our criminal defense law firm today. Altman & Altman LLP has successfully defended many juveniles in court.

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