Pornography Sexting Laws
Sexting or the act of sending nude or semi-nude pictures intended to provoke an illicit thrill via any instant messaging system is presenting legislators, litigants, and lawyers with a painful grey area within the law. On the one side, sexual exploration is a perfectly normal part of teenage behavior. The ability to share oneself through the relatively safe medium of a picture seems like an obvious outlet for a young person’s sexual impulses. On the other side, the law has yet to catch up with these new developments, so by blind standards, teenagers caught sending or receiving sexts can end up facing severe legal punishments reserved for adults.
For example, the statues as written in Colorado child pornography laws will punish anyone for felonies like:
- Causing, inducing, enticing, or permitting a child to engage in or be used for any explicit sexual conduct for the means of making any sexually exploitative material.
- Possessing any sexually exploitative material for any purpose.
- Preparing, arranging, publishing, producing, promoting, making, selling, financing, offering, exhibiting, advertising, dealing in, or distributing any sexually exploitative material.
Keeping in mind that ‘sexually exploitative material’ includes any graphic image, physical or digital, that depicts a child engaged in, participating in, observing, or being used for sexually explicit conduct — which includes simply ‘being fully or partially nude’
In general, that’s a good thing; the purpose of the law would be defeated if it could be circumvented on a technicality. But clearly as it stands right now, the act of a teenage girl taking a picture of herself in a sports bra and panties (and not immediately deleting it) puts her in danger of violating the law against making sexually exploitative material, and the one against possessing any sexually exploitative material for any purpose.
Heaven forbid that she sent that picture to her significant other. Suddenly she’s also guilty of distributing sexually exploitative material. If she just shows it to her best friend on the screen of her phone, she’s guilty of exhibiting sexually exploitative material.
If she does both, she could handily be charged with several years’ worth of jail time. That’s simply not justice.