Sexting – A Felony Sex Crime?

If your kids are doing it, maybe!

Bush Phone

If you don’t know what sexting is by now, I’m not going to be the one to tell you. But your kids know already, and that’s a problem.

According to North Carolina prosecutors, that problem may now come with felony sex crime charges. So if you don’t want your children to end up with criminal charges on their record (or in prison), or to be on a federal and state sex offender list, then listen up…

Cell phones – so common now that even the police have, for the most part, abandoned monitoring the CB radio emergency channel. But it’s not just adults with phones – it’s kids – your kids. And with those phones come personal digital cameras.

For two North Carolina teens, in a relationship, who engaged in consensual sexting without any coercion or distribution beyond themselves, that freedom now has the pair being tried as adults on multiple counts of felony sex crime charges.

Yes – really.

The Story

While under NC’s age of consent laws the two teens could legally have had sex with one another, sexting is considered a felony for possessing sexually explicit photos of a minor – – child pornography.

The boy – 5 counts for child pornography. (I will note though that the charges include having photos of himself on his own phone…). The girl – 2 counts of sexual exploitation as a minor (originally charged as both the victim and perpetrator… yep). However, she has since taken a plea deal dropping the felony charges, instead pleading guilty to a misdemeanor which will be expunged after 1 year of probation. The probation? For the next 11 months she isn’t allowed to own or use a cell phone (among other restrictions)…

People convicted of sex crimes, regardless of severity, are considered “sex offenders” by their respective state and face having their names added to state and federal sex offender registries. In other words, your children could, at only age 16/17, be registered sex offenders. Thanks, teenage hormones.

Seriously, have a talk with your kids.

According to a 2014 study by Drexel University, the majority of teens are now engaged in sexting (or have at some point). An even higher percentage, however, are entirely unaware that this ‘harmless’ fun (even with 100000% consent and intent) can be considered a felony crime. 

Parents – do you know what apps they are using?

More and more apps are being developed to secretly store photos on cell phones. This is a great example, hiding in plain sight as a calculator app – except, not really. Sure it works like one, and looks like one. But key in the secret passcode and you unlock a hidden vault for storing pics.

Unless your children are as innocent as Kimmy Schmidt, now would be a good time to have that talk.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy this “duck pic”

Duck Pic

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