Members of the Virginia State Crime Commission are trying to determine whether teen sexting should be categorized as something other than child pornography. The pressure to sext is a reality for many teens. Juveniles who engage in sexting may be unaware of the severe penalties attached to violations of child exploitation laws.
The Office of the Attorney General of Virginia reported one in five teens admitted electronically sending seminude or completely nude images or videos. Surveyed teens said peer pressure was a significant reason for sexting. Criminal defense attorneys know allegations and convictions of sex offenses can be ruinous to a juvenile's future.
Two Fairfax County teens were taken into custody, after police were tipped off to a file-sharing account that contained revealing photographs of nearly five dozen McLean High School girls. The juveniles, 16- and 17-year old male students from the school, each were charged with distributing obscene material, after reaching plea deals.
Police learned about the Dropbox account through a student who was given a link to the folders containing the photos and names of 56 female students. The link apparently had been circulating among McLean students. Reports said the accused juveniles developed complex rules to access the nude photos.
One boy admitted creating the Dropbox account. The other said he devised the rules and maintained the account. A juvenile court sentenced the boys to youth jail for two days, banned them from going online and ordered the teens to perform community service.
Police in a Manassas City sexting case earlier this year charged a teen with child pornography, for sending a sexually explicit video to his girlfriend. The charge will be dismissed after one year, provided the juvenile fulfills the terms of probation. An adult convicted of the production, possession, distribution or reproduction of child pornography can be sent to prison for decades, with the inescapable lifetime label of a sex offender.
Source: The Washington Post, "Virginia teens plead guilty to creating cache of nude photos of students" Justin Jouvenal, Nov. 10, 2014