Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Christian Institute: Celebrities are the cause of a sharp rise in the number of children sending sexually explicit text messages, a child protection expert has warned.
Daily Mail: More than one-quarter of teens engage in sexting and those who send explicit photos of themselves are more likely to become sexually active a year later, according to a study published on Monday.
IPPR: We surveyed 500 18-year-olds to gauge their attitudes to sex and relationships, and their opinion of the education and support they had received.
Education News: Teachers are to be issued with a guide on how to deal with ‘sexting’ – the sharing of explicit photos or videos through mobile phones and the internet.
Pittsburgh Tribune; The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said the organization might sue over the filing of “sexting” charges against two Greensburg Salem Middle School students.
National Law Journal: A divided federal appellate court has affirmed the 30-year prison sentence given to a former field hockey coach for soliciting pornographic images from a girl he coached and sharing them with another teen girl with whom he sought to have sex. | United States v. Broxmeyer, 10-5283-cr
Christian Science Monitor: Sexting – often thought of only in a legal context – needs to be considered from a youth perspective in order for parents to more fully protect them from its consequences.
News from The Associated Press: Only 1 percent of kids aged 10 to 17 have shared images of themselves or others that involve explicit nudity, a nationally representative study found
CBC News: Police are warning dozens of Nova Scotia teenagers that sharing nude photos of themselves could lead to criminal charges.
KRMG.com: State lawmakers are looking into the possibility that the punishment for a crime may be too harsh.
WSJ.com: New York state lawmakers are advancing a bill that would create an “educational reform program” for teenagers who get in trouble for creating and sharing pornographic images of minors.
KOB.com: The sexting case against Jacob Lawler has many parents worried. Fifth grade elementary school teacher Jacob Lawler’s ‘sexting’ case has caused a lot of parents to worry about their children and who they might be communicating with over their cell phones.
Miami Herald: The lawsuit said school officials knew Hope was the victim of “extraordinary ridicule and harassment” because of the “sexting” incident in the fall of 2009 at Beth Shields Middle School.
In less than 24 hours, the effect was as if Margarite, 14, had sauntered naked down the hallways of the four middle schools in this racially and economically diverse suburb of the state capital, Olympia. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of students had received her photo and forwarded it.
NY Times: In the last two years, legislators have been weighing graduated responses to sexting between minors. Some legal scholars refer to the images as “self-produced child pornography.”
All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?
Daily Mail: “A survey reveals that 40 per cent of 11- to 14-year-olds have used their mobile phones or computer to send pictures of themselves or receive naked or topless images of friends.”
Christian Today: “The 10-minute film, Exposed, has been developed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in response to the increasing popularity of sexting among teenagers . . . The film is available at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/teachers”
KDLT.com: “The Legislature will take up a bill that defines juvenile “sexting” and lists possible punishment for violators who electronically transmit sexually explicit or nude photos of themselves or others.”
Boston.com (AP): “New Jersey teenagers caught texting or posting sexually explicit photos online could avoid prosecution under a measure that would give first-time offenders the chance to complete a diversionary program.”
Daily Iowan: “University of Iowa third-year law student Elizabeth Ryan is trying to prevent the life-altering destruction sexting can have on the lives of teens and young adults. Ryan hopes her article . . . will bring attention to an issue she said has become more prevalent as technology continues to develop. Her article suggests that states may benefit from creating new laws against sexting instead of relying on old laws regarding obscenity or pornography, which often come with harsh punishments.”
Miami Herald: “A pair of bills were pre-filed last month in the House and Senate, prohibiting minors ages 12-17 from electronically transmitting photographs depicting themselves or other teens ‘in a state of sexual activity or a state of sexually explicit nudity.’”
“Minors and young adults who engage in sexting face serious, and often unanticipated, psychological and reputational consequences. While the current state response to sexting between minors and between young adults is inappropriate, the state can intervene in several innovative ways to educate minors and young adults about the consequences of primary and secondary sexting, impose appropriate penalties on minors who engage in primary and secondary sexting, and recognize and support appropriate remedies for minors and young adults who are victims of secondary sexting.”
KWTX: “Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, proposed a law Monday that would create new penalties for minors convicted of sexting.”
Stemming Sexting: Sensible Legal Approaches to Teenagers’ Exchange of Self-Produced Pornography
“The term sexting often describes a broad range of behaviors that differ radically in terms of the actors, motivations, and tactics involved. In this Note, the term ‘sexting’ refers to the self-production and distribution by cell phone of sexually explicit images in the course of consensual, voluntary activity by teenagers. This definition describes a phenomenon differing from the use of texting by sexual predators to exploit youth, a set of issues that is not addressed here, and the use of sexting to cyberbully. This Note focuses primarily on the typical sexting case involving the limited exchange of provocative messages concerning consensual sexual activity between willing participants.
The prevalence of sexting and the severity of its consequences have prompted state and federal policymakers to consider various legislative proposals, from crafting new criminal offenses to introducing educational programs. In exploring appropriate legal responses to sexting, this Note attempts to strike a balance between competing policy objectives, such as teenage privacy and the state’s interest in preventing child sexual abuse and child pornography, while respecting the extent to which the digital revolution changed how teenagers communicate and interact in social spaces. While society may want to minimize teenagers’ production and distribution of provocative images even under consensual and private circumstances, sexting should be exempt from treatment under child pornography statutes. In Part I, this Note explores the sexting phenomenon and its underlying causes in the context of a digital generation of teenagers. Part II surveys the varied responses of authorities to sexting incidents, including prosecutors and state legislators. Part III discusses the range of policy issues implicated in designing an appropriate legal framework to address sexting. Part IV concludes by suggesting several legislative components that could help authorities discipline the harms of sexting without resorting to ill-suited child pornography statutes.”
Associated Press: “A coalition of booksellers and Internet content providers will ask a judge to stop Massachusetts from enforcing an expansion of state obscenity law to include electronic communications that may be harmful to minors.”
Complaint: American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, et. al. v. Coakley, No. 10-11165 (D. Mass.)
Associated Press: “Wisconsin’s governor said Monday he would start the process of removing a district attorney caught sending sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim.”
Lebanon Daily News: “A northeastern Pennsylvania school district has settled a lawsuit alleging that a principal illegally search a student’s cell phone, found nude pictures she had taken of herself and turned it over to prosecutors.” ACLU Press Release
AP: “Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz issued that statement Wednesday after The Associated Press reported on the 30 texts he sent to a 26-year-old woman who had complained to police last year. A police report shows he repeatedly sent Stephanie Van Groll text messages in October 2009 trying to spark an affair.”
The First Amendment Implications of Sexting at Public Schools: A Quandary for Administrators Who Intercept Visual Love Notes
“This Article analyzes the First Amendment implications of this type of student speech and concludes that when balancing the competing interests of school discipline and the constitutional rights of minors, school administrators should accord greatest weight to students’ First Amendment rights. By doing so, school administrators will protect minors from the uncertain fates of the criminal justice system where child pornography laws often punish sexting by minors.”
National Review Online: “National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez talked to Bennett about this private-sector effort to help families . . . KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Shouldn’t parents know who is texting their children, and what the communications are about? WILLIAM J. BENNETT: On the first part, absolutely. On the second, yes, in ugly or bad cases. A key thing about allowing children to text and have smartphones is for parents to have a conversation with their children first — a very serious conversation. MouseMail and other products for older children require such a conversation and enhance it.”
Mary Leary, Sexting or Self-Produced Child Pornography? The Dialogue Continues – Structured Prosecutorial Discretion within a Multidisciplinary Response (April 1, 2010). Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 2010; CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-31. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1657007
“This article builds on the concept that the solution does not lie in the criminal law. Rather, it seeks to refocus the debate by suggesting that part of the solution depends on the formation of a comprehensive ‘smart’ response. To accomplish this, society and its institutions (educational, social service, religious, law enforcement, legal, and civic) must come together and form a considered strategy that encourages prevention and a smart response when prevention fails. This article examines the role of prosecution, if any, in that ‘smart’ response. This article argues against the use of blunt instruments that fail to recognize the complexity of SPCP. These extremes include ‘zero tolerance’ policies, which in most cases do far more harm than good; decriminalization, which prevents a prosecutor from ever abusing his or her discretion, but also precludes juvenile court intervention even where the conduct is particularly egregious or the youth is in particular need of such; or an ad hoc approach by prosecutors which risks inconsistency, unfairness, and bias.”
Law.com: “A federal appeals panel has thrown out a child pornography conviction that was based on explicit photographs texted by a 17-year-old to her field-hockey coach. The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals held there was no evidence that defendant Todd Broxmeyer asked 17-year-old ‘A.W.’ to take the pictures, and therefore no evidence that he ‘produced’ them as defined by the federal child pornography statutes.” | USA v. Broxmeyer, No. 09-1457-cr (2nd Cir. Aug. 3, 2010)
The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Earlier this month, Pennsylvania joined 20 other states to consider legislation prohibiting minors from sexting – electronically sending sexually explicit photos or text. Grove’s bill would impose a range of penalties, from a summary offense much like a traffic ticket to felony charges.” | HB 2189 | Rep. Seth Grove’s June 29 press release on the passage of the bill in the PA House
Star Tribune: “A coalition of booksellers and Internet content providers has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Massachusetts law that outlaws the sending of sexually graphic instant messages to minors. The new law was designed to close a loophole that prompted a court to overturn the conviction of a man accused of sending explicit instant messages to a 13-year-old.” | ACLU press release | Complaint: American Booksellers Foundation for Free Speech v. Coakley (E.D. Mass.)
Susan Duncan, A Legal Response is Necessary for Self Produced Child Pornography: A Legislator’s Checklist for Drafting the Bill (July 5, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1635067
“This Article explores self produced child pornography, known in the media as ‘sexting,’ and offers a balanced, multi-faceted approach including both a legal response and education. Currently, states are modifying their laws because applying existing child pornography statutes to self produced child pornography results in a punishment which does not fit the crime. The author analyzes and critiques these proposed statutes finding none adequately address the multiple facets of the self produced child pornography problem. The Article concludes by offering a checklist of important provisions legislators should consider and proposed language legislators can incorporate into their bills. Policymakers and scholars will gain an excellent summary of both the problem and the arguments advanced by scholars studying the issue, as well as a template for solving the problem after reading this Article.”
York Daily Record: “The state House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill proposed by state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, that changes sentencing for teens who send sexually explicit messages of themselves to other teens.” | Text of HB 2189 is available here.
The Times-Tribune: “The Wyoming County commissioners agreed Tuesday to a $140,000 settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over legal fees the organization incurred in a sexting case, county solicitor James Davis confirmed.” | Related: PA: Ex-student sues district for seizing her nude pics | PA: Federal judge enjoins Wyoming County D.A. from disciplining or prosecuting “sexting” teenagers for child pornography | 3rd Circuit: Prosecutor’s offer of leniency to teens for sexting is unconstitutional retaliation [CDR abstract]
NY Daily News: “Public school kids soon should think twice before pulling out their cell phones: The city Education Department is set to ban ‘sexting’ – even on students’ own time. Under proposed new rules, kids face suspensions of up to 90 days for texting each other suggestive pictures or notes, even outside school hours.”
Sex Offender Issues Blog: “Your son or daughter could be having sex and consenting to it with another teen. Fox 23’s Abbie Alford discovered about Oklahoma law may surprise parents who may end up with a teenager branded for life as a registered sex offender . . . ”
Philadelphia Inquirer: “[A] recent graduate in northeastern Pennsylvania has filed a federal law suit claiming her former high school principal seized her cell phone and turned it over to prosecutors when he found ‘explicit’ photographs of her on it. . . . The former student – who was never charged with any crime – claims she was subject to unreasonable search and seizure, invasion of privacy, and that her First Amendment right to free expression was violated. by the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of the former student, identified as N.N., by the American Civil Liberties Union.” | For more on the initial case, see these two ADF Alliance Alert case tags: http://www.alliancealert.org/tag/zz-miller-v-skumanick/ | http://www.alliancealert.org/tag/zz-miller-v-mitchell/
The News-Herald: “The ACLU of Ohio is urging legislators to keep sexting teens out of criminal courts. Ohio House Bill 473 seeks to create a new criminal misdemeanor violation for sexting — when teenagers send or receive nude or partially nude images of other minors electronically . . . ”
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Kids sending other kids naughty cell-phone pictures could become a juvenile crime with its own name–sexting — under a bill the Ohio House passed Wednesday in an 84-12 vote. Under the legislation, minors sending other minors nude pictures of themselves through a cell phone or a computer would be classified as an ‘unruly child,’ meaning that juvenile authorities could get involved . . .”
Wire: “A former Pennsylvania high school student has sued school and county officials for damages in a controversial sexting case. The student alleges a violation of her constitutional rights, in a civil suit filed last week that could serve as a cautionary tale to other officials considering punishing students over risque self-portraits . . . ”
ABC: “A Pennsylvania school district that was at the center of a highly publicized ‘sexting’ case was sued Thursday by a teenager who claims her principal confiscated her cell phone, found nude images she had taken of herself and turned it over to prosecutors.”
Republican American: “The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the state Senate last week. It was introduced by Rep. Rosa Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck . . . [House Bill 5533]: An Act Concerning Sexting, creates a lesser punishment for minors between 13 and 18 who may knowingly possess and transmit any nude or semi-nude images through electronic communication. The bill makes the crime a Class A misdemeanor, which could be punishable by up to one year in prison.”
In Character: “A new study from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com finds that more than 22% of girls ages 13-19 say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. And, the study finds, these racy images are also getting passed around: One-third of teen boys and one-quarter of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images — originally meant to be private — shared with them. Read the full study here [PDF].”
Capitol News Service: “With the House spending more than two hours debating the abortion legislation, dozens of bills that passed the senate are being ignored. A bill that would lessen penalties for teens caught emailing or texting nude pictures of themselves or their peers, an offense known as sexting, is one of those bills. Bill Sponsor Dave Aronberg is upset that the House is delaying the measure.” | HB 1335
Times-Leader: “A federal judge today issued a permanent injunction precluding Wyoming County prosecutors from filing charges against several teen girls involved in a ‘sexting’ case . . . Munley’s ruling ends the case. Wyoming County may be on the hook to pay attorneys fees to the ACLU, however.” | Related: 3rd Circuit: Prosecutor’s offer of leniency to teens for sexting is unconstitutional retaliation
Chicago Tribune: “Teens who forward or post online racy pictures of their underage classmates would get juvenile court supervision that could result in mandatory counseling or community service, under legislation sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday.” | HB 4583 | For more on this legislation see the ADF Alliance Alert compound tag: http://www.alliancealert.org/tag/state-illinois+topic-sexting/
Sexting and Teenagers: OMG R U Going 2 Jail?
“Part I of this article discusses the potential roots of this behavior between and among teenagers. It discusses youth, the technology that makes this behavior possible, and the natural tendencies of teenagers. Part II illustrates different types of cases that have resulted in either prosecutions or threats of prosecution under state pornography statutes. Part III discusses various issues surrounding the controversial prosecution of teenagers for sexting, including the treatment of teenagers as pornographers, the breadth of prosecutorial discretion in charging determinations, and the role of parents, schools, and the media. Part IV reviews and critiques recent legislative responses to sexting and provides suggestions for future legislation. It maintains that while there is no perfect ‘one size fits all’ solution to sexting, punishing teenagers who sext as child pornographers is not the solution. Rather, some of these teens do not deserve to be punished criminally for their behavior. Finally, if legislators are intent on creating a criminal offense, they should only criminalize the unlawful dissemination of the digital photos to others. Arguably, there are teenagers who may be actual pornographers that should be charged with child pornography, but these criminals are not the focus of this article and will not be discussed in any detail.”
Supreme Court considers workplace email/texting privacy and whether animal cruelty videos are protected speech
How Appealing links to reports on the employer/employee sexting case here (whether an employer can review an employee’s communications believed to be private even though a company pager was used) and the cruelty to animals video case here (court issued a ruling addressing whether animal cruelty videos are protected free speech).
Legal Newsline: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will hear the case of whether employees’ text messages sent by an employer-owned device are considered private.”
Lebanon Daily News: “On Tuesday, the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon County will address the growing sexting problem with teens, parents and other concerned citizens at a town meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Lebanon High School auditorium, 1000 S. Eighth St.”
ABC Action News: “Florida Lawmakers are debating a bill that would lessen the penalties for teens who send or receive nude picture of themselves or another minor.” | For more information see this ADF Alliance Alert compound tag: http://www.alliancealert.org/wordpress/tag/state-florida+topic-sexting/
Boston Herald (AP): “Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill outlawing the sending of sexually graphic instant messages to minors. The new law closes a loophole in Massachusetts law that led the state’s highest court earlier this year to overturn the conviction of a man accused of sending explicit instant messages to a 13-year-old girl.”
Wired: “The real question isn’t about having a smart phone or not, the real question is what are you as a parent doing to ensure your child’s security and/or appropriate behavior? Whether parents want to accept this fact or not is up to them, but teens are still children and their security and well-being is the responsibility of not only themselves and their school – but primarily of their parents . . . Parents are the ones who set the tone for behavior, parents are the ones who teach (or don’t teach) responsibility and morality . . . Sadly, a good portion of the current youth populace seems to have little regard for the privacy and personal safety of their peers, as evidenced by the articles linked above. With reckless abandon they have no problem sending a naked picture to everyone in class, disregarding the implications of that action (in some cases unfortunately, suicide.) This is behavior, not technology.”
Arizona Republic (AP): “The House Judiciary Committee will hear the bill on Thursday . . . The bill would make it a misdemeanor for minors to send or keep such images. It would also target images passed around among young people other than the intended recipient.” | SB1266: juveniles; communication devices; sexual material | Judiciary Committee agenda | ADF Alliance Alert compound tag for state-arizona+topic-sexting: http://www.alliancealert.org/wordpress/tag/state-arizona+topic-sexting/
AP: ” . . . Bills filed in the Florida Senate by Aronberg (SB 2560) and in the House (HB 1335) by Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, take a somewhat parental approach. The measures would specifically address sexting by minors and apply an escalating series of punishments that the sponsors say will make enforcement more likely.”
Miami Herald: “The measure [HB 1335] separates this new form of digital intimacy from the harsh punishments of child pornography laws, but it does criminalize subsequent offenses.” | National Conference of State Legislatures: 2010 legislation related to sexting
The Roanoke Times: “Increases have been small — and it’s difficult to pin down an exact number because so few actually get to court — but prosecutors say sexting cases are becoming more prevalent in court systems around the Roanoke region.”
NCSL sexting legislation report: “In 2010, at least 15 states have introduced or are considering bills or resolutions aimed at “sexting”—the practice of sending sexually explicit or nude or semi-nude photos of children by cell phone. The legislation generally aims to educate young people about the risks of sexting, deter them from the practice and apply appropriate penalties to those who do engage in sexting.”
Associated Press: “Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would try to establish more realistic penalties for teen sexting.” | HB 5533 | National Conference of State Legislatures Report on Sexting Legislation
Chicago Tribune: “Offenders would not face criminal charges, but would get juvenile court supervision that could result in counseling or community service. The bill doesn’t address youths who send or receive racy photos if they don’t distribute them.”
WHAS11: “A bill aimed at cracking down on the problem of teenagers sending nude photos via cell phones or online has advanced in the Kentucky General Assembly. The measure easily cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.”
Law Review: Introducing a lesser juvenile charge for sexting with an “aggravating factors” framework
W. Jesse Weins and Todd C. Hiestand, 77 Tenn. L. Rev. 1 (2009)
Your4State: “The bill by State Representative Seth Grove (R-York) would make sending nude or inappropriate photos by text message or e-mail a second-degree misdemeanor for anyone between 13 and 17 . . . The bill is expected to be voted on by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.”
Naperville Sun: “The legislation, HB 4583, seeks to change Illinois’ juvenile code to prevent these children from registering as a sex offender. The legislation, which received a technical amendment during prior committee hearings altering the placement of the potential law within the state statutes, unanimously passed the House Juvenile Justice committee Wednesday.”
Mike McManus writing at Virtue Online: “Patrick Trueman, who led Justice obscenity prosecutions in the Reagan and Bush I Administrations was given seed money by Morality in Media, a nonprofit organization fighting this plague, to launch a “War on Illegal Pornography.” 1. Enforce the Law . . . 2. Prosecute criminal pornographers . . . 3. Mobilize pro-family and religious leaders to demand action . . . 4. Congress should demand action.”