Maybe, maybe not. But a technology blog reported that Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick dangled the threat of prosecution in front of boys who had been swapping photos of their classmates via text messaging, or ‘sexting’, the practice of trading risque text messages that may even include nekkid photos. Dood. Kids in my day traded Yu-Gi-Oh cards or pogs.
Julian Sanchez of the Ars Technica blog writes:
“In a letter sent to parents in February, Skumanick declared that both the boys caught swapping the photos and the girls who’d been photographed would have to submit to a reeducation program or risk being charged with a felony.”
Rather than take that risk, parents agreed to the program, but some other parents, after seeing the photos, didn’t think the images of their daughters clad in white bras were really all that pornographic. The ACLU agreed and, you guessed it, lawsuit!
“In a lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of the mothers of the three girls, the civil liberties group argues that photos merely showing minors in their underwear or topless so clearly fall outside the statutory definition of “pornography” that Skumanick could not possibly have any “reasonable expectation of obtaining a conviction.” Rather, the mothers charge that Skumanick is using a frivolous threat of prosecution to bully parents into accepting his childrearing “assistance.” The plaintiffs are asking a federal district court to issue declaratory ruling that the photos are protected speech, not obscenity, and to enjoin Skumanick’s threats as a violation of their parental rights.”
Read the more about the fun legal stuff in the article here!
UPDATE (3/31): A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the prosecutor from charging the students as child pornographers. Read the article by Ars Technica’s Julian Sanchez here.
One of the local rags, The Orange County Register, recently published an article about a local incident of sexting. In this case, a middle-schooler sexted nekkid photos of herself to at least one friend, and somehow that photo made its way to, like, 10 people. Never in a million years could I have predicted that would happen.
According to the Register’s Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, the group of students who circulated the photos were punished with in-house suspensions, where they attended school but could not go to classes.
Here’s a rule of thumb, people. Never ever send, post, Twitter, etc. a photo of yourself that you would not want shown on national television, to a future spouse, or to a future boss. Somebody somewhere is going to find it and your goodies will be out there one way or the other for all the world to see.
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About The Chronicles of a BlawgirlThis blawg follows Julie Anne Ines as she continues her law school journey as a 3L in Fall 2011. Learn more about her here. Find/stalk her online profiles using the social toolbar at the bottom of your browser. Email her at ja_ines (at) msn (dot) com. Thank you for reading!
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