Teens sue prosecutor over racy cell-phone pics

The Associated Press is reporting that three Pennsylvania teenagers are suing a prosecutor who wants to charge them with child pornography over racy cell-phone pictures of themselves.

The ACLU joined in the fight for the three girls suing Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. from filing charges. Two of the girls are 13-year-olds who were shown in their bras and say they were having innocent fun when a friend took their photo. Another picture shows a 16-year-old girl with a towel around her waist. The teens say the photos are protected speech, not pornography. (Source)

Is it true that teens finding more ways to express themselves? Expression? Isn’t that what we adults call constitutionally protected speech? Are we saying that teens don’t have the same constitutional rights as adults do to express themselves? Shouldn’t a teenager have the same right to expression? Or, do we follow the thoughts of Candice Kelsey, a teacher from California and author of Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence, that “Adolescents are not known for thinking things through – that’s a generational constant.” (Source).

This is certainly bound to create debate. I’ve also written on this subject on more than one occasion, and actually been written about on the subject. See: The Hypocracy of Law, A Model Prisoner, and Kids for Sale.

Comments:

  1. This is a tough one. We need to make sure our teens know how serious the consequences can be if these types of pictures end-up in the wrong hands, but are the girls’ actions really a crime? Do they need the severity of the justice system for what was probably just girls being goofy? This is the first generation that has had access to such a vast amount of technology. We, as adults and as a society, need to come-up with a system to educate our children about the ramifications involved with using this technology. This lawsuit will help further the discussion of whether or not we need to make criminals out of these teens.

    Comment by Beth Itchkawich on April 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

  2. I feel as though the DA is taking this way too far. I agree that it was not the smartest thing that these teenagers could have done and they do need to be aware of consequences; however, there must be intent to have child pornography. The girls would have needed to sell the photos or distribute them to over-aged people to have the child pornography tag be attached. With the internet and other forms of communication at this time, I believe it is the parent’s responsibility to monitor their actiosn, and I do not believe that they intended to commit child pornography since they were all underage. The teenagers have the right to express themselves with each other as deemed fit. The situation would change if it involved males and/or females over the age of 18.

    Comment by Sara Morton on May 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

  3. This is a fad that teenagers are going through and eventually, this too will pass. Prosecuting a few select kids will not serve to function as justice. The mere fact that the girls were unaware of the postings makes it absurd to file charges against them. This seems like selective enforcement. With all the thousands of “sexting” posts hitting the internet, it is not right to choose to make an example of a few. Furthermore, this “crime”, lacks the element of intent, which is a fundamental aspect of criminal law and specifically pornography.

    On April 29, according to NBCi.com Senator Robert Schuler, from Ohio, introduced a bill, #103, to classify as a misdemeanor crime, for a minor, the use of a “telecommunication device to create, send, receive, exchange or possess a photo or other material showing a nude minor.” This is a step in the right direction, but it still ignores the 14th amendment regarding parenting, which is key to dealing with these issues.

    Prosecutors are throwing the book at teenagers, hoping something sticks. Pornography laws are in place to protect minors from adult predators. Labeling every act with a sex offender title such as: streaking – the hilarious naked pumpkin run in Boulder, to “sexting” and other seemingly minor offenses, deviates from the purpose of the law, which ultimately is protection. It is far from a fine line between a true pedophile and minors striking poses in their underwear. It is ridiculous to try and classify these two acts in the same category. It is time to focus on more serious crimes.

    Comment by Melissa Collins on May 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  4. […] addition to the my recent posts. (See, Girl Posts Nude Pics of Self and is Charged with Child Porn, Teens Sue Prosecutor over Racy Cell phone pics,and the Hypocracy of Law) It completes the circle in the variuos arguments for and against this […]

    Pingback by Vermont Proposes Changing Laws on “sexting” « ContiFazz on May 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm

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