The recent sexting case of a Manassas teen facing two charges of child pornography for reportedly texting a lewd video to his girlfriend demonstrates how serious local authorities are about sexting—even in juvenile court. It’s more important than ever for teens to know these important facts:
Sexting means transferring sexually explicit images electronically, often via cell phone.
It’s illegal to produce, store, possess or share lewd or explicit pictures of minors (people under age 18). Virginia sees these as acts of child pornography.
Sexting by teens can be prosecuted as child pornography, a felony that can mean years in prison and a lifetime listing in the sex offenders’ registry.
The charges for the crimes may be the same as if the teen were an adult, but the penalties may be less severe for teens since they are tried in juvenile court.
Students involved in sexting may be suspended from school, fired from jobs and organizations and denied college admission and future job opportunities.
Once SEND is pressed, control over where the image travels is lost. What is sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend could easily end up with their friends, and their friends.
A juvenile who forwards a sexual image of someone underage, becomes as responsible for this image as the original sender and could face the same penalties.
The #1 reason students cite for sexting? Pressure from the opposite sex.
Any sexually explicit images received should NOT be deleted, but shared with a trustworthy adult. The child will not be in legal trouble if the images are reported.
Prince William County authorities take teen sexting seriously, as do other jurisdictions. If your child is involved in a sexting case, it’s important to obtain experienced legal counsel. Contact criminal defense attorney Michael Hollingsworth for a free consultation. Use the contact us form or call us at 703-492-4200.
DISCLAIMER: The results of every case depend on factors unique to that case, and NZS Law does not guarantee or predict results in similar cases.