Texas Teen Sexting Law Proposed

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 6:00pm

Texas Senator Kirk Watson is proposing a bill to make "sexting" between teens a crime. "Sexting" is term for the sending of sexually explict pictures that someone takes of themselves through text message.

Under the proposed law, if a person under the age of 18 is caught sending or receiving such a picture through their phone, it would be classified as a Class C misdemeanor for first time offenders. Teens caught multiple times could be charged with a Class A misdemanor.

Teens who report receiving such a text message to the police within 48 hours would not be charged. Further, teens with only one conviction for sexting could qualify to have the conviction expunged from their record.

Punishments for Class A misdeamors can be up to 1 year in jail.

Reaction from El Pasoans is varied. Many younger people we spoke with today were opposed to such a law and saw it as a potential invasion of privacy of young adults.  Jamal Harden, a student at El Paso Community College, told Newschannel 9 "I don't think it's appropriate for the government to interfere with two lovers, or whatever the case may be, boyfriend or girlfriend.  If we're talking about 13, 14...that's something entirely different."

Under the current law, sexting cases between teens can only be prosecuted under laws written for child pornography, which carry more severe penalties.

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