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A congressman who sends an X-rated photo of himself jeopardizes his reputation and his job. But in many states, teens caught doing the same thing can risk felony charges, jail time, and being branded sexual offenders.
That’s because a minor who transmits a sexually explicit photo of himself, according to many state laws, is manufacturing and distributing child pornography. Lawmakers across the country, however, now say the problem of teen sexting didn’t exist when they enacted harsh punishments for child porn and are considering changes that would ensure minors don’t face jail time for youthful mistakes.
“Let’s just call this what it is: stupid,” said Rhode Island state Rep. Peter Martin, a Democrat from Newport who is sponsoring a bill to downgrade teen sexting from a felony to a juvenile offense. “These are kids we’re talking about. I don’t think minors should face these severe punishments just for being stupid.”…Read More