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For attorneys who counsel educational institutions, it is only a matter of time before they must grapple with sexting-related issues.These issues pose difficult challenges for school administrators and staff, especially where improper investigation can subject school personnel to prosecution for the same criminal offenses that teens risk by sexting.For example, Vermont recently enacted a law making a teenager's first "sexting" offense a juvenile court matter, giving the teen the opportunity to be sent to a diversionary program rather than be charged as an adult and branded a sex offender. which would transform most sexting between teens from a felony to a noncrime by treating the teen in question as a nondelinquent minor in need of supervision under the Juvenile Court Act. By being aware of the relevant law and having policies in place to deal with sexting, prosecutors and law enforcement, school districts, parents, and teenagers themselves can curb sexting behavior while avoiding liability.The crime of sexting Sexting can have serious social and emotional consequences for teens and adults alike - especially where a picture is taken without knowledge, forwarded without consent, or used to bully and harass.Thus, one unwise youthful indiscretion results in five felonies and subjects the teenage couple to branding as "sex offenders." A legislative response.
Illinois legislators should continue to examine incidents of sexting and how the current law applies to them. Legislators should consider drafting a narrow exception to sex offenses to prevent "innocent" teens from being charged with serious violations while maintaining liability for those who are guilty of actual child pornography - regardless of age. Until then, parents and schools may be better equipped to discipline and admonish sexting teens than are police and prosecutors. Finding and deleting an unsolicited sext message an hour after its receipt better demonstrates involuntary possession than does carrying a sext message on the phone for two months or more.The Act dictates that cell phones used for sexting by minors must be For example, students who post prohibited pictures on their Facebook pages have likely violated federal criminal law. In Illinois, someone who commits the offense of child pornography is a "sex offender" and must register and report as such.