Friday, January 15, 2010

'Sexting': Child Pornography or Free-Speech Right?

Posted at
PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court must decide whether "sexting" by three Pennsylvania teens amounts to child pornography or is a free-speech right.

A three-judge panel in Philadelphia is hearing arguments Friday in a case between a county prosecutor and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The prosecutor is threatening to file child-pornography charges against three girls after racy cell-phone images of them circulated through their high school.

I don't see "none of the above" as an option. Although I don't consider these children as "child pornographers", nor do I consider it a "free-speech right". What these girls, as well as thousands of children across America and around the world, have done is wrong. They should be punished as well as anyone found to have forwarded these pictures along to anyone else. As to whether these kids are actually sexual predators is debatable. Some may be, most are probably not.

Perhaps there should be a fine assessed along with a revocation of the cell phones. I'm not an advocate of creating new laws everytime something pops up, but if our only choices are to label these kids as "sex offender" or to let them off the hook, we need to consider a third option.

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