Three Washington State teenagers have been charged with sexting, sending nude photographs of themselves to one another using the Internet. If convicted, the three will be added to the legions of those required to pose as a sex offender. Since when is curiosity a crime? And do we really need to stigmatize the children for life to feel safe.
Reprinted from the King 5 website:
by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News
Posted on January 29, 2010 at 6:57 PM
LACEY, Wash. - Thurston County Prosecutors charged three teenagers Friday with Class C felonies for allegedly texting a naked picture of an underage girl.
Earlier this week authorities confiscated nine cell phones with the "sexted" picture on it. Lacey police say it all started when a 14-year-old girl took an explicit photo of herself and sent it to her 14-year-old boyfriend. When the relationship ended badly, that is when police say the now ex-boyfriend started to forward the picture to others.
Prosecutors say the pictures can be considered child pornography. If convicted of the felonies, the students would be required to register as sex offenders. Wayne Graham is a juvenile deputy prosecuting attorney and warns teens they need to "think before they hit send on their phone. Once they hit send they are no longer in control who views a very private or intimate photo."
The North Thurston School district is using this case as a educational opportunity. When news of the "sexting" scandal broke, middle school teachers held a lecture to warn kids about the dangers of sending graphic photos out into cyberspace. School spokesperson Courtney Schrieve says,"I don't think young people today think about when they press send. It's going global. It's out there forever."
The school is planning to hand out flyers to students and parents to warn them about the "sexting" trend. Thursday, school officials called every middle school family to tell them about the "sexting" case.
Grandparent Trish Arehart got the call and says she had not heard of "sexting." She immediately "went through everything " in her grandson's phone. She also warned the 13-year-old about sending bad pictures out.
"I told him this can get you into trouble. I said girls that send you pictures like that are not girls you want to be with," she said.