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Sexting Results in Criminal Charges in Pennsylvania

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Sexting,” a relatively new social phenomenon, has left eight Pennsylvania high school students with a felony pornography charge. The age of the Pennsylvania students ranged from ages 13-17. The students were accused of using their cell phones to take, send, or receive nude photos of each other, and, in one case a video of oral sex. Charles Chenot, Perry County District Attorney, stated the requisite acts under Pennsylvania law to be considered a crime is to take a photograph of yourself or someone else and send that photo to a third party. Chenot said he considers sexting a form of child pornography with lifetime consequences, especially if that photo ends up on the Internet.

Chenot said it was the only charge that fit the crime, although he agree a less severe charge that still got the attention of the teens would be adequate. Former U.S. Rep. Don Baily, who represents one of the minors, states a felony pornography charge “is an over-zealous and an inappropriate application of the criminal law.”

Unfortunately this incident is an example of when technology surpasses the law. A Pennsylvania bill, which would limit the punishment for sexting, is up for a full floor this month. Many Pennsylvania lawmakers believe reform is needed in order to find an appropriate punishment for the crime.

This case will likely result in a plea deal or trial. Each of the accused are entitled to a criminal law attorney or public defender for representation on and through these criminal proceedings.

To read more about the Pennsylvania sexting incident see Teens Face Felony Pornography Charges as a Result of Sexting.