Monday, March 30, 2009

US Judge Sides With Teens in Sexting Case

A U. S. judge issued a temporary restraining order against a Pennsylvania prosecutor who threatened to bring child pornography charges against three teen girls caught with nude or semi-nude photos of themselves on their cell phones. It was ruled that such action would violate freedom of speech and parental rights. Make no mistake, this is a landmark case and likely to stand as precedent for any other such cases in the future.
Witold Walczack, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, welcomed the legal decision. "This country needs to have a discussion about whether prosecuting minors as child pornographers for merely being impulsive and naive is the appropriate way to address the serious consequences that can result from sexting," he said.
The report also goes on to say that as many as 39 percent of teens have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages, and 20 percent have posted nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.

UPDATE: A CBS news story clarifies the judge's action as being a temporary restraining order, and that his isn't ruling yet on the merits of the lawsuit. In addition, prosecutor George Skumanick said he would consider an appeal. There is also some concern about setting a precedent where people who commit crimes seek refuge in federal court to prevent state arrest.
The girls "make a reasonable argument that the images presented to the court do not appear to qualify in any way as depictions of prohibited sexual acts. Even if they were such depictions, the plaintiffs' argument that (they) were not involved in disseminating the images is also a reasonable one," (Judge) Munley wrote...The judge said he "offers no final conclusion on the merits of plaintiffs' position" and scheduled a hearing on the case for June 2.

1 comment:

Jim H said...

One of the arguments used by supporters of the prosecutor is that the girls' pictures could be seen by a predator who would then target them. Although they can cite one case, the fact is that this argument is the same one used by some Muslims to justify the burqa - cover the girls from head to foot and there will be no problem. Of course, as in this case, the idea penalizes the potential victims rather than the predators. Bizarre. Also unChristian; if Jesus pardoned the woman taken in adultery, he most certainly would not have charged children with child pornography.

By the way, I am the son, grandson, and great grandson etc. of Lutheran ministers. While I am not a naturist, I deeply resent abuse of both Christianity and the law by conservatives. They cannot understand the Bill of rights, let alone the New Testament. They are a far greater threat to our society than nudists.