The Right to “Sext”: Sending Nude Photos of Oneself is a Right

Another legal action over the practice of sexting has emerged. Only this time it is the alleged “sexters” who are suing state prosecutors on the grounds that criminalizing sexting infringes on their First Amendment rights.

Last month, three high school students in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania faced the threat of being charged with the possession/dissemination of child pornography, when their school confiscated student cell-phones and found pictures of them in states of semi-undress.

The photographs at issue showed two of the girls from the waist up wearing nothing but opaque bras; another girl was photographed emerging from a shower, wearing a towel wrapped around her torso, just under her breasts.

The prosecutor offered the three women, along with approximately 20 of their classmates whose photos had also been found on confiscated cell-phones, a deal—if the girls completed a 6 to 9 month re-education class on “what it means to be a girl in today’s society” at a cost of $100 to each of the girls’ families, charges would be dropped.

The prosecutor indicated that the girls had to complete the re-education program to his satisfaction and submit to periodic drug-tests during this probationary period. Anyone who chose not to take the deal would be brought up on charges of possessing/disseminating child pornography, and if convicted would face having a felony conviction on their record, and be required to register as sex offenders for the next 10 years.

While many parents accepted the prosecutor’s deal—three families, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, brought suit this week on behalf of their daughters, contending that the prosecutor’s actions constituted a violation of the teens’ right to free expression under the First Amendment.

Good for them.

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8 Responses to The Right to “Sext”: Sending Nude Photos of Oneself is a Right

  1. teacherninja says:

    Now those are some awesome parents. Hope they win this one? And what the heck was that about drug tests? That should have had nothing to do with their deal. Wrong and wrong.

  2. Tess says:

    Holy hell. “What it means to be a girl in today’s society?” By who’s definition? The prosecutor who is bringing these asinine charges? It’s just plain scary.

    If child pornography laws are in place to protect children how can these same laws be used to prosecute them?

  3. alexad says:

    I think it is quite clear that this wasn’t the intent of the Congress when they passed these laws. And the courts look at intent just as much as they do the letter of the law when ruling on these things.

    If I was a parent, I’d refuse any pleas or anything like that and make them try the case in front of a judge/jury, and then pursue appeals if they were somehow convicted. Otherwise, this kind of crap will continue. They need to find some other way to address this.

  4. Omēga says:

    Again, calling a teenager a sex offender because they send photos of themselves to others is offensive, untrue, and demeaning. The purpose of those laws were to track people who prey upon children, not teenagers who send nude pics to each other.

  5. Pingback: Judge Nixes Child Porn Charges Against Cellphone Teens « studentactivism.net

  6. SIMZ BABES says:

    I agree with omega, call a teen a sex offender is really stupid. There the same age for christ sake.

  7. Starr says:

    So, what came of all of this? Does anyone have an update??????? Puritanical values really suck.

  8. Justin says:

    I wonder how the principle found out about the pictures? Was he looking for them? For some reason, i don’t think they just popped up on the screen

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