Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ACLU Sues Overzealous Prosecutor in Sexting Case

It's about time. The ACLU has sued a Pennsylvania prosecutor for threatening children with child pornography charges because they sent nude photos of themselves via cellphones.
The ACLU said Skumanick should not have threatened to file felony charges against the girls unless they agreed to be placed on probation and participate in a counseling program. The ages of the girls were not given. "Kids should be taught that sharing digitized images of themselves in embarrassing or compromised positions can have bad consequences, but prosecutors should not be using heavy artillery teach them that lesson," said Witold Walczak, ACLU Pennsylvania legal director.
These prosecutors threaten children and their parents with harsh and permanent legal consequences, and people are so afraid that they don't fight back, often accepting lesser charges in order to avoid facing public humiliation. Child pornography laws were written to protect children, not punish them, and kudos to the ACLU for finally calling out these out-of-control politically-motivated prosecutors who only want to get their names in the paper.


Jeff said...

I agree that these kids activities should not be subject to such severe penalties. However, the problem is not with the prosecutor, it is with the law.

In most cases, the law is very strict and very clear. The law defines child pornography very broadly and the law makes clear that distribution is subject to severe penalties.

For many of these sexting cases, the pictures and activities are not at the edge of what is covered by child pornography. This is yet another possibly unintended, but perfectly foreseeable, consequence of rash lawmaking.

Nudiarist said...

Yes, the laws are a big part of the problem, but district attorneys have discretion when dealing with children, which they often ignore, and elect to go for the jugular instead. Usually they are far more aggressive in election years. Prosecuting sex crimes always plays well with the conservative base.

Anonymous said...

20-30 years ago.
Mom took a picture of a baby naked in the bath tub.
Then: How cute
Today: Child porn.