Iowa Teen Faces Harsh Charges for Sexting With Clothes On
Parents of an Iowa teen appeal a charge that seems absurd but is enforceable in Iowa.
Not an easy topic to talk about among teens and teen parents but let's be honest. It happens. It's happening and it's more often than any of us want to think. But, most likely, the stats prove that the majority of teens are. It's part of the technology-heavy world we live in. (then there's hormones and natural curiosity that also play their role.)
Parents, if you're not talking about it with your teen, you should be. There's an app where kids can hide photos in and it appears to be a calculator on their phone. The discussion can be had from many angles, not only from a body, self-image, self-respect perspective, but for the eye opening consequences it could bring.
For instance, in Des Moines last month, a 14 year old girl, who sent a sexually suggestive pic (not nude, she was wearing undergarments in one pic and had her hair covering her chest, in another) of herself to another minor student, was charged with 'sexual exploitation.' If she is found guilty in juvenile court, she will have to register as a sex offender.
This is where it gets a little harder to understand. A minor sent another minor a non-nude photo of herself and may have to register as a sex offender? While I absolutely don't think it's a wise move to make, I struggle to understand the law's reasoning here is a bit more difficult. I'm no Einstein and certainly, no lawyer, but I'm also not the only one. Rollingstone Magazine has covered the story now and it's bringing some attention to this case and the laws in place to try it.
According to RollingStone.com,
'Police investigated and Marion County Attorney Ed Bull set up a diversion program in which the accused sexters could take a course on the dangers of sexting and admit what they did wrong, instead of facing juvenile charges.
Nancy [the girl's anonymous name in the article] and her parents, however, thought that her pictures were not that bad and therefore she shouldn't have to go, so they filed a federal lawsuit to prevent Bull from bringing charges. In it, Nancy and her parents argue that the photos do not constitute exploitation or pornography and that coercing Nancy into the diversion program would violate her parents' right to raise their child as they see fit and Nancy's First Amendment right to freedom of expression.'
The story goes on in more detail, because the laws surrounding sexting, have left minor children around the nation, the ones these laws are supposed to protect, being labeled and seen by the law as sex offenders.. The current laws put prosecutors in a position where they can't leave these matters to schools and parents to handle.
What do you think? Should the law remain in place or should this be reviewed and revised in Iowa?