For at least 5 years I’ve been asking every Virginia Delegate, Senator, Secretary of Public Safety and Governor to patron a Bill to decriminalize consensual Teen Sexting in Virginia. And while many of them agree in private on my proposal no one has yet to sponsor such a Bill even though the number of juveniles being arrested in
for Child Pornography rises every
year with the 13-14 year olds being the highest arrest group. Virginia
Well Colorado (see below article) is about to pass a law to make consensual Teen Sexting a petty offense where applicable, they are adding a 4-year age gap as I’ve been proposing and if the image is posted/emailed it can be a misdemeanor offense. This prevents teenagers who did not use any force, threats, intimidation, secret filming or extortion from facing a felony conviction that could include a prison sentence and lifetime registration as a public Violent Sex Offender.
I don’t expect the first proposal to be the magic-bullet, it may take a few years like in Colorado but we should at least be making a concerted effort to make sure our Child Pornography statutes aren’t being used against juveniles with a lifetime stigma as a public Violent Sex Offender when that is not how they were ever intended to be used.