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Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

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  • Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

    Rethinking Sex Offender Laws for Youth Texting

    In Iowa, Jorge Canal is on the sex offenders registry because, at age 18, he was convicted of distributing obscene materials to a minor after he sent a picture of his penis by cellphone to a 14-year-old female friend who had requested it.

    In Florida, Phillip Alpert, then 18, was charged with distributing child pornography and put on the sex offenders registry because after a fight, he sent a photograph of his nude 16-year-old girlfriend by e-mail to dozens of people, including her parents.

    In most states, teenagers who send or receive sexually explicit photographs by cellphone or computer — known as “sexting” — have risked felony child pornography charges and being listed on a sex offender registry for decades to come.

    But there is growing consensus among lawyers and legislators that the child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with an adolescent cyberculture in which all kinds of sexual pictures circulate on sites like MySpace and Facebook.
    I'm a little torn on this issue. If an 18 year old - considered an adult according to law - sends an obscene text to a minor, then that should be a fairly substantial punishment, not sure about the sex offender label though. I guess the law has to make a distinction based on age - 18. Maybe some leeway for the judges in sentencing to review each case on an individual basis is appropriate.

    On the other hand, two minors exchanging text messages - that may be explicit - is hardly a crime in my opinion, surely not worthy of a child pornography charge or sex offender status.

    Last year, a 14-year-old New Jersey girl was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography after posting dozens of sexually explicit photographs of herself on MySpace.
    Is it really child pornography if you distributed your own photos? Surely there's a misdemeanor charge that could cover this infraction.

    “The child pornography law was about protecting children from pedophiles,” Professor Adler said. “While sexting is bad judgment, it’s simply not what the Supreme Court had in mind when it crafted the child pornography law. It just doesn’t make sense that in a lot of the sexting situations, the pornographer and the victim are one and the same person.”
    I think the states are right to review the statutes and make changes if neccesary, labeling a minor as a registered sex offender for texting seems pretty harsh to me.
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

    There should be an appropriate age difference when talking about minors and 18-19 year olds like there is in most states with minors having sex. Basically if it is legal for them to have sex, they can send each other pictures of what they can legally do. This does not apply to third parties.

    Jorge and the 14 year old are too far apart and could not legally have sex, so his act should be illegal. Phillip sent pictures to third parties, including adults. Not acceptable, even if it was requested.

    A minor should never be charged with distributing their own pictures, period. If an adult was involved by either encouraging or coercing the minor the adult should be charged.

    I'm opposed to the registries currently in place as they are punishment that is excessive because it is lifelong for any conviction (including public urination where only the cop sees you in 27 states). If they aren't on probation there is no reason to list them as an offender, but keeping them on a list during the probation period and extending probation lengths would be acceptable. Once they are off probation they have served their time and should be considered a regular citizen again barring specific restrictions for violent crimes (ie not being allowed to own a firearm).

    Minors who don't commit violent sexual crimes should not be on any registry.
    |TG-6th|Snooggums

    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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    • #3
      Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

      Funny thing is when I saw the headline I didn't think to put 18-19 year old's in the equation, yes they are still teenagers, but most 18-19 year olds are in college by that time and if they do commit a crime they are charged as an adult. If you are 18 and sexting to a 14 year old, yes, I think that you have a problem and should stay away from young girls.

      I find it really funny that when chat rooms were big in the mid 90's no one really bothered or cared if their teenage son or daughter was in a chat room having cyber sex, yes there were articles about young teen girls meeting much older adult males online etc, but other than that it really didn't seem like a huge issue.

      The funny thing with "sexting" is that unlike online chat conversations (unless of course you are part of an online sting, or the other person saves the convo/copies/pastes the convo to word or notepad) the conversation can be saved on the phone by both parties or just one party.

      Basically what it comes down to is Tiger Woods ruined it for all the sexters out there, thanks Tiger.

      But it also brings up another very good point, why in the world do Teenagers from the ages of 13-17 need cellphones or blackberrys or Iphones or Itouches, Palms, Droids etc...?????????

      Thats just my thinking, I am probably alone on it, but its the truth, is it that hard to ask the secretary at the school if you can use the phone to have your parents pick you up at school if you are late, or for other reasons?

      Its a good thing that looking at Playboys or Hustlers was and is still legal when i was a teenager, I would hate to be considered a sex offender if I bought a porno and then showed to to my friends.
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      • #4
        Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

        Originally posted by snooggums View Post
        Jorge and the 14 year old are too far apart and could not legally have sex, so his act should be illegal. Phillip sent pictures to third parties, including adults. Not acceptable, even if it was requested.
        The problem with this is it's more than likely they are both in High School with him being a Senior and her a Freshman. So, two people who are in the same school and deal with each other on a daily basis are ok if he's 17, but the week he turns 18, she's off-limits?

        Further, since when it being four years apart a huge deal when it comes to dating? Oh yea, in that magical time when a guy turns 18 and yet, since this country is retarded when it comes to sex, no one bothers to beat it into his head that what he may have done last week when he was 17, will now destroy his life the week after.

        Also, when the age difference is less than 5 years, the age of consent in Iowa is 14 from what I've read. So, these two kids having sex is completely legal unless a visual record of the act exists.... which is just retarded.

        Once they are off probation they have served their time and should be considered a regular citizen again barring specific restrictions for violent crimes (ie not being allowed to own a firearm).
        So... register them in ways that will only partially destroy their lives, rather than completely? A felony tag is bad enough, being a convicted sex offender: you're lucky if your neighbors aren't trying to lynch you.

        I personally believe sex offenders should only be registered if they are violent, abuse a position of authority, or are after pre-pubescent kids (actual children). My GF and I argue about this a lot, she doesn't see the difference between a pedophile and a guy/girl who just likes jail-bait.

        Minors who don't commit violent sexual crimes should not be on any registry.
        Your wording is suspect, so I'm beginning to assume I'm misinterpreting your previous comment as well. The OP isn't talking about violent sexual crime. That's a whole other ball-game. The jerk who sent out nude pictures of a girl is one thing, but even then: maybe that girls parents should have informed her about the dangers of taking your clothes off when cameras are involved.

        Seriously, God gives us the parts to perform all these neat acts around the age of 12-14, right when we're in a social system that rewards popularity and giving in to peer pressure above anything else. The authorities in this system are forbidden to teach us anything actually relevant about sex other than "Don't do it," for fear of the all-mighty soccer mom who is also too afraid to talk to their kid about sex and maybe not taking your clothes off when there's a bunch of horny guys around and everything has a camera built into it.

        So, when the inevitable happens, we start throwing them in jail when they act like any other ignorant and immature kid would.

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        • #5
          Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

          Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
          The problem with this is it's more than likely they are both in High School with him being a Senior and her a Freshman. So, two people who are in the same school and deal with each other on a daily basis are ok if he's 17, but the week he turns 18, she's off-limits?
          Actually, a 17 year old and a 14 year old are most likely not legally able to have sex in the vast majority of states. There has to be a cutoff somewhere, so the magical 18 age where they get to vote, sign legal contracts and be tried as an adult is a very appropriate cutoff age for special circumstances.

          Further, since when it being four years apart a huge deal when it comes to dating? Oh yea, in that magical time when a guy turns 18 and yet, since this country is retarded when it comes to sex, no one bothers to beat it into his head that what he may have done last week when he was 17, will now destroy his life the week after.

          Also, when the age difference is less than 5 years, the age of consent in Iowa is 14 from what I've read. So, these two kids having sex is completely legal unless a visual record of the act exists.... which is just retarded.
          The four year spread from 14 to 18 is completely different than 16 to 20 or 18 to 24 due to biological development, societal pressures and emotional development. 14 is only legal in Iowa if the other person is within 2 years, so up to 16 years. 17 and 18 are off limits, and the person could still be liable for statutory rape charges if the parents prosecute, the low cutoff is simply to not prosecute automatically under specific circumstances.

          So... register them in ways that will only partially destroy their lives, rather than completely? A felony tag is bad enough, being a convicted sex offender: you're lucky if your neighbors aren't trying to lynch you.

          I personally believe sex offenders should only be registered if they are violent, abuse a position of authority, or are after pre-pubescent kids (actual children). My GF and I argue about this a lot, she doesn't see the difference between a pedophile and a guy/girl who just likes jail-bait.
          If they are already on probation then being on a list could easily be a condition of their parole just like being barred from having contact with minors or any other situation. I'm glad you have an opinion that limits it even further to only violent offenders, I simply have a more open range of offenses while they are on probation.

          Your wording is suspect, so I'm beginning to assume I'm misinterpreting your previous comment as well. The OP isn't talking about violent sexual crime. That's a whole other ball-game. The jerk who sent out nude pictures of a girl is one thing, but even then: maybe that girls parents should have informed her about the dangers of taking your clothes off when cameras are involved.
          What is suspect? I've stated my opinion clearly while noting the differences between different situations. I think the public list should be more restricted for minors than adults, while still reserving it for those on probation and not those who have completed their sentence, which I don't need to repeat since I'm simply limiting the number of people on the list even further. I know the op isn't talking about violent crime, I introduced that as an additional filter before getting onto the list as a minor.

          Adult: Only on list while on probation
          Minor: Only on list while on probation and only if the act was violent.

          Seriously, God gives us the parts to perform all these neat acts around the age of 12-14, right when we're in a social system that rewards popularity and giving in to peer pressure above anything else. The authorities in this system are forbidden to teach us anything actually relevant about sex other than "Don't do it," for fear of the all-mighty soccer mom who is also too afraid to talk to their kid about sex and maybe not taking your clothes off when there's a bunch of horny guys around and everything has a camera built into it.

          So, when the inevitable happens, we start throwing them in jail when they act like any other ignorant and immature kid would.
          There is no god. The age at which puberty kicks in due to evolution is less important than development, and people go through a lot of changes in their teens and early 20's in physical, mental and emotional areas which were studied in recent history. A 14 year old doesn't know that their extreme attraction to an 18 year old is due to wildly fluctuating hormones trying to get her to reproduce without a care about her developing emotional issues when she is treated like the lost puppy she is (and vise versa for boys). I want sex ed in the schools to teach responsible sexual activity and I don't care if 14 and 15 year olds are experimenting early. I do agree with the law that an 18 year old is now and adult and should be able to limit their activity to appropriately aged people (16 and older) because they are at a different development stage and don't need to take advantage of 14 year olds just like 14 year olds don't need to mess around with 12 year olds who hit puberty early.
          |TG-6th|Snooggums

          Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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          • #6
            Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

            Originally posted by snooggums View Post
            Actually, a 17 year old and a 14 year old are most likely not legally able to have sex in the vast majority of states. There has to be a cutoff somewhere, so the magical 18 age where they get to vote, sign legal contracts and be tried as an adult is a very appropriate cutoff age for special circumstances.
            Not really, it's just the most convenient.

            The four year spread from 14 to 18 is completely different than 16 to 20 or 18 to 24 due to biological development, societal pressures and emotional development.
            You'll back this up, right? Considering if it was true, the same issues that plague American High Schools wouldn't also plague colleges.

            14 is only legal in Iowa if the other person is within 2 years, so up to 16 years. 17 and 18 are off limits, and the person could still be liable for statutory rape charges if the parents prosecute, the low cutoff is simply to not prosecute automatically under specific circumstances.
            From Here
            Second, for the ages of 14 and 15, the consenting partner cannot be 4 or more years older than the teen.
            If they are already on probation then being on a list could easily be a condition of their parole just like being barred from having contact with minors or any other situation. I'm glad you have an opinion that limits it even further to only violent offenders, I simply have a more open range of offenses while they are on probation.
            Limit contact with minors... while in High School?

            There is no god. The age at which puberty kicks in due to evolution is less important than development, and people go through a lot of changes in their teens and early 20's in physical, mental and emotional areas which were studied in recent history.
            You assume the physical and mental development of puberty are separate. They are not.

            A 14 year old doesn't know that their extreme attraction to an 18 year old is due to wildly fluctuating hormones trying to get her to reproduce without a care about her developing emotional issues when she is treated like the lost puppy she is (and vise versa for boys).
            No, her attraction is because she's maturing physically a lot faster than boys her own age. To assume she's somehow naive for targeting other physically mature people for her desire is pretty funny. That would show she actually has a pretty good grasp of her mental faculties.

            I'm also picking up that you feel sorry for the girl who lusts for older boys, which is understandable. The problem is that any 14-year-old boy who could date/score an 18-year-old girl is a legend. It's the double-standard that really annoys me.

            I want sex ed in the schools to teach responsible sexual activity and I don't care if 14 and 15 year olds are experimenting early.
            Then move to another country or stay the Hell away from Texas and other parts of the South. Primary education is bad enough here, and the sex ed is even worse.

            I do agree with the law that an 18 year old is now and adult and should be able to limit their activity to appropriately aged people (16 and older) because they are at a different development stage and don't need to take advantage of 14 year olds just like 14 year olds don't need to mess around with 12 year olds who hit puberty early.
            You assume that 18 is this magic age where maturity takes over and that said 17 year-old who was in a perfectly healthy relationship with a 14-15 year-old in now in an unhealthy one because he hit this magic number.

            States should consider education and maybe counseling before prosecution, but the primarily red states where this is all going on don't want to appear soft on crime and it's easier for them to lock people up rather than to address the actual problem.

            Hilariously enough, in a lot of these states, the age of consent can drop to 12 if the couple is married.

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            • #7
              Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

              Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
              You assume the physical and mental development of puberty are separate. They are not.
              They most certainly are.

              How else do you explain physically mature 7 year old girls?
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              • #8
                Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                physically mature 7 year old girls?
                Please explain sir, what a physically mature 7 year old girl is?

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                • #9
                  Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                  Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
                  Not really, it's just the most convenient.
                  I'm sorry you don't understand legal issues involving becoming adult.

                  You'll back this up, right? Considering if it was true, the same issues that plague American High Schools wouldn't also plague colleges.
                  If you mean acting out and juvenile behavior? I already said that people are still developing into their early 20's which covers most people in college.

                  From Here
                  I was half right, since you quoted the wrong part. Example of four years older from the same link:
                  For example if the teen is 14 years old, the partner must be 17 years old or younger.
                  So, 18 year old Jorge is still violating the law in Iowa.

                  Limit contact with minors... while in High School?
                  That has been a condition of parole for minor sex offenders, which amazingly enough keeps them from going to school.

                  You assume the physical and mental development of puberty are separate. They are not.
                  Yes they are.

                  No, her attraction is because she's maturing physically a lot faster than boys her own age. To assume she's somehow naive for targeting other physically mature people for her desire is pretty funny. That would show she actually has a pretty good grasp of her mental faculties.

                  I'm also picking up that you feel sorry for the girl who lusts for older boys, which is understandable. The problem is that any 14-year-old boy who could date/score an 18-year-old girl is a legend. It's the double-standard that really annoys me.
                  I even said 'and vise versa for boys'. I dated a younger female in high school and I did know boys who did date seniors as freshmen. It is not a legend.

                  Then move to another country or stay the Hell away from Texas and other parts of the South. Primary education is bad enough here, and the sex ed is even worse.
                  Like I said I had that in school in the 90's. I'm sorry your state fails at sex education and science in general.

                  You assume that 18 is this magic age where maturity takes over and that said 17 year-old who was in a perfectly healthy relationship with a 14-15 year-old in now in an unhealthy one because he hit this magic number.

                  States should consider education and maybe counseling before prosecution, but the primarily red states where this is all going on don't want to appear soft on crime and it's easier for them to lock people up rather than to address the actual problem.

                  Hilariously enough, in a lot of these states, the age of consent can drop to 12 if the couple is married.
                  Ok, first off, me saying that it should be illegal doesn't mean I want to lock them up. I mention probation, which I believe is a possible outcome for some age inappropriate sex crimes. Second 18 is not a magic number. It is the age that a person gets a crap ton of legal rights, which they should have been prepared for in their teens and they need to start acting on at that point.

                  No, a 12 year old has a zero (or very close) change of being married in any US state, and even if they are married they are not generally exempt from age of consent laws. Kansas has no actual cutoff, but like Iowa 13 is the 'magic number' where there is absolutely no possible consent and a 13 year old would be an offender if they did something with a 12 year old. See, the reason that a 12 or 13 year old won't get married or legally be able to give consent is because a judge would have to sign off on a 13 or younger person getting a marriage license and I'd like you to cite a single incident of that happening in the US in the last 20 years.

                  Stop assuming a bunch of crap that is counter to what I am saying. You are reading my posts wrong.
                  |TG-6th|Snooggums

                  Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    Please explain sir, what a physically mature 7 year old girl is?
                    One whose hormones have caused her secondary sexual characteristics to develop, which leads to fertility.

                    Puberty is physical sexual development, and is related to, but separate from, adolescence, which is the emotional and psychological development that normally occurs around the same time.

                    Sure, hormones are raging and contributing to changes in both developments, but let's not lump the two together. They can occur completely independently and years apart from each other.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                      The ironic thing is that while I studying for a Police exam this very scenario of sorts was involved in one of the practice questions. It wasn't this direct scenario but it did involve a 17 year old male and a 13 year old female and a 18 year old male and a 14 year old female.

                      "physical and mental development of puberty are separate. They are not. "

                      They are two different things. Just because you are an adult doesn't mean you have the right to be involved in sexual relations with someone who "looks like an adult." Same goes with "sexting" with a minor.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                        Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                        One whose hormones have caused her secondary sexual characteristics to develop, which leads to fertility.
                        Females are not fertile until they have their first menstrual cycle at about age 12.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                          A big issue with these registries is the cry-wolf factor. People who are not a threat to others get put on the lists, making the lists useless for protecting us from the real threats.

                          From CrimeReports, which provides online maps of crime reports and sex offender registries:
                          http://crimeprevention.crimereports....nder-registry/

                          Georgia Puts Non-Sex Offenders On Sex Offender Registry
                          http://crimeprevention.crimereports....nder-registry/

                          The Real Purpose of Sex Offender Registries
                          http://crimeprevention.crimereports....er-registries/

                          The blog has also run a number of stories about sexting:
                          http://crimeprevention.crimereports.com/tag/sexting/
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                            Here's an interesting case:

                            Teens, Sexting, and Blackmail at a Wisconsin High School
                            http://crimeprevention.crimereports....n-high-school/

                            I could see that going further, with a kid blackmailing his classmates with the threat of getting them listed in a sex offender registry.
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                            • #15
                              Re: Should Teens Convicted of 'Sexting' be Considered Registered Sex Offenders?

                              Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                              Females are not fertile until they have their first menstrual cycle at about age 12.
                              In America, girls are starting their cycle younger and younger on average, but let's not forget that every girl develops differently. I think the youngest mother in the world was 5 years old when she gave birth.

                              This is my point. Physical maturity is very different from mental/emotional maturity. "Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed" might be funny when you're in a high school locker room, but that's it. It's not true in the slightest.
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