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Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-maybe-they-can dept.

Education 383

mikesd81 writes "In the first federal appeals court opinion dealing with 'sexting,' a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that parents could block the prosecution of their children on child pornography charges for appearing in photographs found on some classmates' cellphones. Miller vs. Mitchell (PDF) began in 2008 when school officials in Tunkhannock, Pa., discovered seminude and nude photographs of some female students on other student's phones. George Skumanick Jr., the DA at the time, said the students and their parents could be prosecuted if they did not participate in an after-school 'education program.' The unanimous ruling of the judges, Thomas L. Ambro, Michael A. Chagares and Walter K. Stapleton, criticized the district attorney's reliance on the girls' presence in the photographs as a basis for the potential charges. 'Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo,' said the opinion, by Judge Ambro."

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Insanity (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525354)

the students and their parents could be prosecuted if they did not participate in an after-school 'education program.'

I love the fucking hypocrisy around sex in USA. Sure, violence and killing people is all okay, but when it's about natural human function like sex it's all bad and must be hidden. It's a great irony that just an hour ago I read news that you can't even say tampon on US TV commercial about tampon products [wordpress.com] . Women bleed once a month. Accept it and get on with your lifes.

When I was a teen we sent back and forth nude pictures of ourself with my girlfriend, and I suspect many others did too. Hell, we even had sex like every other teenager does. 15-16 year old is perfectly capable to understand sex. Age of consent is 14-16 in most of the world and 17-18 in more liberal US states. It makes absolutely no sense that you can have sex but not send a dirty picture of yourself to your boy/girlfriend, and if you do you will be taken to some kind of "education program".

The fact that parents can block some "sexting" prosecution is a stupid point. If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 16-17 year old teen sex life, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525406)

When I was a teen we sent back and forth nude pictures of ourself with my girlfriend,

So she really got around, eh?

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525414)

Hell, we even had sex like every other teenager does.

I never had sex as a teen, you insensitive clod!

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525460)

You didn't but sounds like she did

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525496)

He said "every other teenager", not "every teenager".

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525504)

And that's why we should forbid teens to have sex. It's a bit like circumcision, most of the time the only real reason to do it is to take revenge on your children.

Re:Insanity (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525704)

I say we outlaw adolescence under penalty of death.

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526142)

Now you gave away the secret. Everyone will know now. Thats next week's law.

Re:Insanity (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525444)

If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 16-17 year old teen sex life, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

Maybe so but there are a lot of parents that don't want naked pictures of their perfect child floating around the school and would like to use rule of law to discourage "sexting." It's all about appearances; the parents don't want to look like they raised their kids poorly and the state doesn't want to look like they're soft on crime.

Re:Insanity (3, Insightful)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525502)

seems to me they're trying to make up a crime where none exists

Re:Insanity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525778)

It's what laws are for.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525540)

So maybe they should raise their child correctly then?

Re:Insanity (3, Insightful)

Eric52902 (1080393) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525908)

But that's hard! I should be able to let the TV and video games raise my kids and use the courts to fill the gaps with ridiculous litigation!

Re:Insanity (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526078)

damn right! this is Amurika damnit! I did not lose a leg in Vietnam so parents have to be responsible for their children's behavior!

Re:Insanity (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525820)

Maybe so but there are a lot of parents that don't want naked pictures of their perfect child floating around the school and would like to use rule of law to discourage "sexting." It's all about appearances; the parents don't want to look like they raised their kids poorly and the state doesn't want to look like they're soft on crime.

All about appearance? Not quite, those parents don't want to parent, instead they want the nanny state to parent. And soft on crime? What crimes? Victimless crimes? They should never have been added to the law books.

Falcon

Re:Insanity (1)

black88 (559855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526074)

That's a great point, and the key here is, if the parents don't want their kids engaging in what they consider to be inappropriate behavior, they should be willing to be fucking parents and quit trying to push the responsibility elsewhere.

Re:Insanity (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525458)

The sex thing is driven by the Christian Taliban. Christianity, like the other desert superstitions, seeks to control and ration sex.

Re:Insanity (4, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525556)

Well sure.

It wastes water. Didn't you watch Dune?

Re:Insanity (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525572)

Mod parent up!

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525632)

And yet, they tell us to be fruitful and multiply. I didn't realize they were talking about diet and math.

Re:Insanity (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525946)

Oh, you can have the sex, but only after it's been sanctioned by the church and blessed by the Lord Almighty via marriage. Anything else makes the Sweet Baby Jesus cry...

And yet, they tell us to be fruitful and multiply. (2, Informative)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525986)

That's Jewish though Christians say it too. However they add you can only multiply when granted a church license called marriage. Muslims along with some Christian sects also allow males to have more than one spouse, but females can only have one. Which is called polygyny [onelook.com] not polygamy [onelook.com] . Now if they allowed females to have more than one spouse as well as males then it would be polygamy.

Falcon

Re:Insanity (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525736)

it's not exactly a surprise that the same religious sect has the most teen pregnancies and such, either. However, don't throw judaism in with the christians. The christians are on their own on this one.

Re:Insanity (1, Interesting)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525888)

Dear sir, Please rephrase your comment and magically watch as you move from -1 flame bait to insightful. watch and learn: "The issue with sex in America comes partially from America's Christian history. Many of our laws stem loosely from the laws written in the bible, and as such, there are many laws restricting sex and sexual expression. As we grow in maturity as a country, we now feel that some of these laws are outdated, and should be removed. However, there are still smaller sexually conservative groups that will put forth the effort to control what other people do in (or more importantly out of) bed." Notice the lack of words like "Taliban" and claims of "desert superstition". Follow my lead and see your karma improve today!

Re:Insanity (2, Funny)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525934)

Christianity, like the other desert superstitions, seeks to control and ration sex

Oh, I thought marriage was designed to ration sex...

Re:Insanity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525966)

And this isn't a random artifact of the belief systems. At least if you look at it from the perspective of developmental psychology.
Kids go through a number of stages when they grow up. During the later part of pre-puberty childhood, children are inherently authoritarian in their mindset, which is to say, when an authority figure tells them something about the world, they tend to believe it.
If you question them on such information they will refer back to the authority. I.e "Dad said that..", "Teacher said that...".
The stage during which the kids learn to think independently (if not necessarily rationally) happens to coincide and seems to somehow be connected to sexual maturation.

If you successfully suppress the development of an independent "sexual identity" or what you might want to call it, you will also to some degree suppress the development of independent thinking.

So, a religion or tradition that involves hampering the psycho sexual development of children will have a sort of evolutionary advantage to other belief systems in so far that children who get indoctrinated pre puberty will tend to stay indoctrinated.

Re:Insanity (-1, Flamebait)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526170)

Actually, if you want your daughter to pregnant or start having regular abortions at age 9 or whatever, great. I don't want my daughters to be fucked by any old dude with a penis, requiring her to get HPV vaccines and take hormone pills during the time of her puberty and maturation.

I also don't want you telling me how to raise my kids any more than you want me telling you how to raise yours.

And as for "Christian Taliban" when was the last time any "christian" stopped you from raising your kid the way you wanted. HMMM?

People who talk like you have never raised any kids or had to deal with the crap that results. I can't wait till you have a slutty daughter, who is pregnant at 13, by a 26 year old loser.
 

Re:Insanity (3, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525472)

You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers, and can get HIV or become pregnant as easily as 30-somethings.

Re:Insanity (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525508)

if the teens are stupid it's because the parents are too

Re:Insanity (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525768)

Not true. Teens are stupid because they are teens. There are less idiotic teens, but in general, a teen is an idiot. It can safely be assumed.

Re:Insanity (2, Interesting)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525822)

agreed, but it can also be safely assumed that in general, an adult is an idiot too. what do you think an idiot teen grows up to become?

Re:Insanity (2, Interesting)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525962)

Ah, a very valid point sir. I would argue that whilst there are also mostly idiotic adults in the planet, an idiotic adult is slightly less idiotic than an idiotic teen by definition.

Re:Insanity (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525510)

Sure, but prosecuting them for transmitting child pornography? That's fucking ridiculous.

Re:Insanity (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526028)

Worse than that, in this case: They are being prosecuted for being the subject of what is possibly, technically, child pornography.

There is no evidence that they were active participants in the creation of the photos, and in some cases here I believe there is no evidence that they even knew the photos had been taken.

So we're prosecuting them for pictures which they didn't take, and they may not have even known existed.

Re:Insanity (3, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525536)

Sure, but do you educate, or forbid? The USA seems to focus on the latter, but when it comes to teen pregnancies, they sure seem to have a hell of a lot more of them than more liberal* countries.

(* liberal meaning "free", not "leftie" though for some those two meanings are the same).

Re:Insanity (3, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525552)

You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life.

You presume that you will always make better choices than your children will? Interesting...

Re:Insanity (3, Insightful)

Vohar (1344259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525788)

An adult at least has experience to draw on. A "don't make the same mistakes I did" kind of thing, if nothing else.

I remember how stupid I was at 16. So yeah, I -do- think odds are more in favor of the parents when it comes to such choices.

Re:Insanity (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526058)

So, you're arguing in favor of letting them make the decision then?

Seriously, where do you get off arguing against it even as you begin with " An adult at least has experience to draw on "

Where do you think they're going to get experience? Look, you let people make *little* mistakes while you watch, so they don't make huge ones later on when you're not there. Let the girl take a picture of herself pulling the bikini a bit low and showing some pink--even if it ends up all over the damned net, at least it isn't a damned video of her b/f pegging her--which would also end up on the net. Yeah, the lesson will hurt--but not as much as the later one.

You know who the most screwed up girls were back in school? The *real* catholic schoolgirls raised by Nuns. And while having three of them go down on me at once in a dark dorm room is a *wonderful* memory--they weren't ready for it--and I regret sharing that with them. And with their screwed up perception of what physical relationships should be, I'm not sure they ever were.

People need to screw up to learn--give them some room to fail gracefully and learn how to pick themselves back up.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525790)

Id say he presumes he has the responsability for what the child does because, hell, its the law.

Re:Insanity (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525560)

At that point you should had taught your kid to behave correctly and know about HIV and pregnant stuff. Hell, they even teach those things in school here. It's too late when they're already 16-17.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525694)

You should have taught them about the risks, absolutely. Teenagers are still horribly irresponsible, and repeated reminders at appropriate intervals are sensible (and needed).

All MHO, of course.

Re:Insanity (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525566)

You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 18 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 19 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 20 year old's sex life. Early twentiers are stupid fuckers You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 21 year old's sex life. Early twentiers are stupid fuckers You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 22 year old's sex life. Early twentiers are stupid fuckers You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 23 year old's sex life. Early twentiers are stupid fuckers ...

Re:Insanity (2, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525578)

you could probably write a script to do that for you

Re:Insanity (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525804)

What language would that be in? Perl is to obtuse, java is too objectifying, .net based tongues aint worth a damn, C would be too low level...

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525690)

My parents still interfere. However, their interference has evolved into "so when are you going to have another child?" To which I respond "Two kids is enough! That's all we're having!"

Of course, back in college, my father's idea of "interfering" with my sex life was walking with me on campus eyeing the women (and by eyeing I mean turning his head so fast I worried he'd get whiplash) and telling me I should walk up to them and ask them to sleep with me. My response then was "If they said yes to a random guy walking up to them asking for sex, then I sure as hell *DON'T* want to sleep with them!!!"

Re:Insanity (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525652)

Only if they're "abstainers". Me and my girlfriend have sex. But we use Condoms & Birth Control, not saying it can't statistically happen, but we cover all the bases.

Teach kids that sex will (hopefully) happen and show them where to buy condoms. Planned parenthood gives them out for free, same with birth control. I don't think you have to be 18+ to buy condoms at any Walmart or pharmacy.

So yes, "interfere" by educating them not ignoring that it's a possibility.

Re:Insanity (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525730)

I don't think you have to be 18+ to buy condoms at any Walmart or pharmacy.

Not yet, anyway. That day will come, I'm sure. Especially in abstinence-only education states.

Re:Insanity (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525860)

first up, Kansas, followed by Oklahoma and Texas

Re:Insanity (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525750)

Good point: buy them condoms, teach them how to use them (with a bannana, you sick fuck), and talk to them about the danger of mixing drugs and sex: its hard to have safe sex when youre fucked up on tang and vodka.

Re:Insanity (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525760)

By "interfere" you mean "buy them condoms", right?

Re:Insanity (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525838)

If a teenager is too stupid to use a condom, they won't use a condom when they're 30.

I knew I wasn't stupid enough bareback because my parents didn't interfere with my sex life, aside from stressing the important of a condom. Had they forbidden it (in the process neglecting to discuss condoms), I would've done it ungloved.

Why do people think that 16-17 year olds get a whole lot smarter when they turn 18? Or hell, even 30. You don't mature all that much from 16; if you're immature at 16 you'll be immature at 18, 25, 40...

Re:Insanity (5, Insightful)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526064)

You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers, and can get HIV or become pregnant as easily as 30-somethings.

Then teach them safe sex. Many teens have sex yet their lives don't fall apart after that. And abstinence only does not work.

Falcon

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526068)

You sure as hell *better* teach your kids what is sensible and what is downright stupid to do wrt sexuality RIGHT BEFORE THEY HIT PUBERTY. Your "advice" sounds you've been waaaay too late with that.

Re:Insanity (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525522)

>>>I love the fucking hypocrisy around sex in USA.

What sex? These are just pictures of a naked human, and no more harmful than pics of a naked pig or naked bird. In fact the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that nudity is protected speech. It's why you can find images of naked children/teens in your local Barnes & Noble.

Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped), but not photos of homo sapiens in his natural state.

Re:Insanity (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525870)

Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped)

Not all under age sex is rape. Even if you accept the legal fiction that people under a certain age are incapable of consent, the age of consent differs from the age of majority in many places. In fact, people have been prosecuted for child pornography after taking pictures of perfectly legal sex acts. Hell, in my state a few years ago a man was sent to prison for having sex with his wife who he legally married in another state.

Re:Insanity (5, Insightful)

tomthepom (314977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526168)

Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped),

It's this kind of inflexible logic that leads to situations where if 15 year old girl sends sex photos to her 16 year old boyfriend, they run the risk of being charged and prosecuted, him as a child molester and her as a child pornographer! Two lives potentially destroyed because 'someone must have been raped'. The only one doing the raping here is the state.

Re:Insanity (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525646)

However, its good that the court ruled this, isnt it? I see it as proof that sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, your judicial system gives signs of actually working for the citizen.

Re:Insanity (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525712)

judges are like any other group, a few intelligent, rational ones, a whole shitload of clueless morons

Re:Insanity (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525662)

I think you hit the mark perfectly.

It makes absolutely no sense that you can have sex but not send a dirty picture of yourself to your boy/girlfriend, and if you do you will be taken to some kind of "education program".

No sane person would call teens sending their teenage boy/girlfriends a dirty picture of themselves pedophiles or bring them up on child porn charges.
But obviously just mentioning the words "child porn" makes a lot of people loose their sanity.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526090)

"Zero tolerance" all-too-often ends up translating to "Zero common sense."

Re:Insanity (4, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525664)

I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

That's because you were a teenager, and thus an idiot. I know, I was a teenager once. Know several now. Teens are much more likely to act without thinking than adults. Much more likely to think "A condom reduces my pleasure, so I won't wear one, because I won't become a father|catch an STD|both" and act upon that.

As adults we (should) know better.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525924)

Teenagers, having fewer preconceptions are more likely to apply rationality to their decisions. Adults are set in their ways and less open to new ideas, even if they are better. I don't think either group has a monopoly on being irrational.

Re:Insanity (2, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525678)

No argument on the hypocrisy. It's an annoyingly stubborn leftover from our puritanical roots, and many of us (fundies, mostly) are all about pretending that our "founding fathers" were possessed of superior "moral fiber". The result is the staggering collection of hangups that make a naked boob a national disaster but someone's bullet-riddled naked spleen just good, clean fun.
On the other hand, I take issue with the notion that 14-16 year olds are capable of understanding sex. In this country they are demonstrably unprepared to engage in sex in any manner approaching responsible, to which the depressing statistics will attest. Maybe, if we had the maturity and intelligence to treat the subject in an open and responsible manner, that would change, but for now (and as a sweeping generalization, I'll admit) it ain't happening. Christ, we still have a large number of idiots who believe that "abstinence only" education works.

Re:Insanity (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525684)

If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 16-17 year old teen sex life, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

For some very reasonable definitions of "parent", being a good parent often has little to do with what a parent wants to do, or what their kids want. And that's no less true for teenagers than for toddlers.

this "natural human function" (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525698)

can result in fatal or permanently life-altering disease

and, of course, pregnancy. duh

combine this with the fact that teenagers are universally fucking retarded (they're green, they're psychologically immature), and it makes a hell of a lot of sense to bind sex up in taboos and rules

sex is immensely pleasurable. its also an emotional minefield. there is no such thing, nor will there ever be, a successful human society with a cavalier attitude towards sex. sex is extremely powerful. as such, it is treated, and should be treated, extremely carefully, and always will be

deal with it

Re:this "natural human function" (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525942)

can result in fatal or permanently life-altering disease

and, of course, pregnancy. duh

redundant

Re:this "natural human function" (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525990)

can result in fatal or permanently life-altering disease

and, of course, pregnancy. duh

What's the difference?

there is no such thing, nor will there ever be, a successful human society with a cavalier attitude towards sex

Depends on your definition of success I suppose. I'd argue that there cannot be a successful society without a free and open attitude towards sex, but that's because I include happiness as a measure of success.

Re:this "natural human function" (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526162)

combine this with the fact that teenagers are universally fucking retarded (they're green, they're psychologically immature), and it makes a hell of a lot of sense to bind sex up in taboos and rules

So what you're saying is that if you keep your child locked inside your home until the day the turn 20 they will no longer suffer from this retardation of which you speak?

It sounds like you forget that what makes a 16 year old unexperienced is a fucking lack of experience! Now if there was only a way for one to gain this experience. Maybe we could call such a thing, life...

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525734)

Sure, violence and killing people is all okay, but when it's about natural human function like sex it's all bad

Violence and killing naturally benefits the business of government. It's evil by human nature, and people naturally want it gone. The more violence and killing, therefore, the more lucrative the business of preventing violence and killing. If you look closely, you'll see that government actually encourages violence and killing under various smokescreens, most notably drug prohibition (which causes the violent crime rate to skyrocket.) Of course they will never come out and say that violence is "OK", but the cold hard truth is that violence does naturally benefit the business of government.

Sex, on the other hand, is neither good nor bad according to the laws of human nature. In order to profit from sex, therefore, government needs to make it "evil". This involves various techniques like gradual indoctrination and publicly "tarring and feathering" the real sex criminals (who use actual coercion) in order to falsely correlate their crimes with non-coercive acts. Over time the common man comes to view these things as criminal acts, and this opens the door for (surprise) more government spending and more power over the people.

Re:Insanity (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525772)

I am a parent and yes I want to interfere to educate my daughter about having safe sex vs unprotected sex. Otherwise my child is free to send any pictures they like or possess any they like, we all can be taught, but we still have to make our own mistakes.

Re:Insanity (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525866)

The court did not rule that sexting was illegal. Nor did the court rule that is/is not considered child pornography. Nor did the court rule that parents can block any and all sexting charges. In this case the court ruled that being the subject of a photo is not grounds for child pornography charges.

After some provocative photos were found of some teenage girls, the DA wanted them to attend a class. The girls were not nude but shown in underwear or wearing a towel. The class was optional only if the girls wanted to avoid being prosecuted for felony child pornography. The parents sued to block the prosecutions. The court unanimously agreed with the parents because being the subject of a photo does not violate child pornography laws. Possesion of the photo is where charges may occur but the DA could not prove the girls ever had possession of any photos, merely that they were subjects of them.

Had the DA won, it would have led to some crazy interpretations. If someone installed a spy camera in a dressing/changing area, then any teenage girls secretly caught on camera could be prosecuted for child pornography.

Re:Insanity (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525896)

Age of consent is...17-18 in more liberal US states.

And in more conservative ones, I'd wager.

Re:Insanity (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525898)

It's a great irony that just an hour ago I read news that you can't even say tampon on US TV commercial about tampon products

When I was just learning to read there was a family get together, and my mom sent me to the store to buy napkins and paper plates. I bought the best napkins -- the sanitary ones. I couldn't figure out why my mom and my aunts thought it was so funny.

Re:Insanity (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525900)

If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 6 year old playing in the street, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with my playing in the street when I was that age. But they did, and somehow I survived to have children of my own. STDs and pregnancy are rampant in teenage girls, precisely because as a group they are known for making bad decisions! Yes, they learn by making their own decisions and facing the consequences, but there are some choices with potentially permanent consequences that I'd rather they not have the option of making on their own.

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525906)

Becareful what you say, "Hell, we even had sex like every other teenager does", next they'll put parents in jail because there kids had sex. So when your 16yr old daughter screws the 15yr old neighbor boy both parents goto jail for sex slave trade, rape, child pornography, and .. well If I thought about it I could find more stupidity just open any law book over the past 10yrs. My favorite US law.

You may not curse inside the city limits.. REALLY?

Re:Insanity (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525936)

It makes absolutely no sense that you can have sex but not send a dirty picture of yourself to your boy/girlfriend, and if you do you will be taken to some kind of "education program".

I certainly agree with the general argument here. If you can have sex legally, you should legally be able to send dirty pictures.

On the other hand, "can" and "should" are two different things.

15-16 year old is perfectly capable to understand sex.

Teenagers are perfectly capable of understanding what sex is, and they can certainly figure out how it works. But are they capable of considering repercussions of those actions? Millions of unplanned teenage pregnancies (many of them followed by abortions or people dropping out of school, etc.) say otherwise.

Should teenagers have the freedom to send such pictures legally? Of course. But teenagers are also particularly bad at understanding long-term consequences -- like having a baby, or having your nude image plastered all over the internet because you sent it to the wrong person.

If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 16-17 year old teen sex life, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

If you're responsible, sure, I agree. But at some point kids need some guidance. The parents are the most appropriate place to get that guidance, not some mandatory education program. Unfortunately, kids sometimes make stupid choices (even with good parents), and these parents are trying to help their kids out of a serious problem caused by a ridiculous prosecution. Do you really think parents should stay out of such matters when their kids' futures are at stake when they are being prosecuted for a crime?

IANAL, but (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525486)

It would likely depend on how these pics were found. If they were found on a phone confiscated at school, where's the search warrant?

Re:IANAL, but (2, Informative)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525520)

foolish ninja, schoolchildren don't have the same rights as real people, something I railed against when I was one

Re:IANAL, but (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525828)

By god!

You ARE anal, aint you?

I simply don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31525500)

I simply don't understand how prosecuting teenagers who take nude pictures of other nude teenagers, or appear in such pictures, helps the human sociaty in ANY way at all. Nobody is harmed by this. Aren't there useful things to prosecute instead, such as, people who cause aggression, vandalize cars, etc...?

Re:I simply don't understand (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525604)

IANAL, but I believe most District Attorneys that file these sorts of charges are claiming that their hands are tied and they HAVE to because laws regarding child pornography are so strict. The laws don't make any allowances for something like sexting, even if it's a picture involving somebody who is 17.999 years old. Any sexy picture involving somebody under the age of 18 is considered child porn in the eyes of "the law" according to those idiotic DA's.

Re:I simply don't understand (2, Interesting)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525742)

the most rigidly constructed building is the most fragile

Re:I simply don't understand (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525948)

Prosecutors aren't obliged to prosecute, and juries aren't obliged to convict. That they ignore this discretion and convict anyway is a reflect of the authoritarian streak in American culture.

Re:I simply don't understand (1)

ipquickly (1562169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525914)

It doesn't help society.

For most of human history teenagers were already adults.
Many 12 year olds are capable of having kids. That's how it has been for thousands and hundreds of thousands of years.
That's how it will be for thousands of years to come.

It's just our society that puts 'artificial' boundaries on behavior, sometimes resulting in people in their 20's still behaving like kids.
As our society became more complex, and our roles in it required more skill, people became more dependent on their parents while being educated into becoming a 'contributing' part of society.

For most of human history, that was not the case.

Then there are those sick f@ckers who 'like' looking at pictures of naked kids. There must be laws against that.

It's inexplicable. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525582)

Why do people tie themselves and others down with such rough-hewn principles? Of course, you need principles, as the human mind can't analyze every detail of every situation and thing all the time, but is that really the limits of their psyches? People around me, normal seemingly functional people that aren't considered mentally challenged by society in any way, burden themselves with crude approximations, in situations where i just improvise a detailed solution on a whim, without any effort whatsoever. It feels like hubris to think that it's a matter of "intelligence", maybe some people just have a psychological need to think and live like that? Reflexively, I find out that many many people think that I'm some sort of ultra-principled saint/boring rules-submissive stiff... when in fact, I'm quite the opposite. So do they then feel they would be crazed hellraisers, or at least incapable of functioning, if they approached problems like I do?

Re:It's inexplicable. (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525640)

a fact of nature can hardly be called hubris, some people are simply more advanced, far too few if you ask me

Re:It's inexplicable. (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525794)

The problem isn't the principles, it's the fact that most people adopt principles from what they've learned from society, and never take it upon themselves to analyze the reason for their principles. They never ask themselves if it actually makes sense according to their current belief system. My theory is that once you start asking "why?" it's a short road to existential crisis. Most people avoided philosophy class (or didn't pay attention) because it rocked the boat a bit much..

Re:It's inexplicable. (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525852)

This reflexion you propose is wonderful my dear sir. I concurr with your apreciation in every way depicted.

Wait a second.... (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525612)

On the face of it, it sounds good - it's unlikely parents will agree to child pornography prosecutions against their own child. But looking closer at it, this is just batshit-insanity dressed up with a legal fig-leaf. "Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo" sounds to me like they judges are merely arguing that childporn charges do no apply because images themselves do not provide much evidence of who took the picture. It still completely neglects the issue that the current childporn laws apply to people under the age of consent who took naked pictures of themselves! Yes, I know, then there could be a loophole that pedophiles just force their victims to take their own pictures. Honestly - I don't care. The current laws not only make criminals out of people who really didn't do anything wrong, but also terminally fuck someone for the rest of their lives just because they took a picture of themselves.

Yes, yes, pedophilia is the root password to the Constitution, etc. But apathy and fatalism isn't gonna cut it. Write to your congress critters, and interrupt people who blather on about the danger of random strangers taking pictures. Tell them that they ought to look up the weird uncle first.

No warrant == stolen (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525654)

So the school staff stole the phones from the students and then found pictures on them... I think there are multiple grounds to get these cases thrown out of court.

Re:No warrant == stolen (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525764)

So the school staff stole the phones from the students and then found pictures on them... I think there are multiple grounds to get these cases thrown out of court.

The school can likely make a strong argument using in loco parentis [wikipedia.org] depending upon the circumstances around the confiscation of the phone.

Re:No warrant == stolen (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525880)

That doesn't give them the right to rummage through the phone looking at sent txt / picture / chat / search history.

It would be OK for the officials to take the phones from the students because they were using them in class, and then either give it back at the end of the day / hand it over to the parents, but I don't see any reason a school official should have the right to look through the phone.

Waitaminute (1)

Khan (19367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525670)

So this sexting thing is labeled as child porn yet this isn't: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0ifyxqq5ld6e [allmusic.com]

C'mon people! I continue to be amazed at our country's puritanical stance on sex overall. Yes, child porn and abuse is a VERY bad thing and should be punished by the extreme measures of the law (yes Catholic Church...I'm talking to you) but this kind of stupidity is not acceptable. And as a parent of three, you better believe that I will be on them about sending ANY kind of picture least of all a nude one to their friends. Trust me, I'm not the one that's going to be embarrassed in public about it. If they need to learn the hard way, so be it.

Re:Waitaminute (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525836)

What about nude photos of children.. that are kept in a box until the children turn 18 and then those now-adults decide to release the photos? My heads asplode

Re:Waitaminute (1)

Khan (19367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525904)

Dude...that made no sense whatsoever. Lay off the drugs already. You'll be happier.

Re:Waitaminute (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526032)

Here we go... next you'll start preaching about how you can here the devil's voice if you play a Judas Priest song backwards...

My friend, I've had that album nigh on 30 years, it's a great blues rock album & I had completely forgotten any idea about that being an underage semi-nude model on the cover until you mentioned it; in the same way, now you've reminded me of the fact, I really don't feel the urge to go and sexually abuse an underage girl - if nothing else, my wife of 16 years probably wouldn't approve of such behaviour.

Yep, child porn is evil and hanging is too good for the people that make the stuff - but put into some *CONTEXT*, please! It's not as though anyone's ever suggested tearing down the ceiling of Sistine Chapel [wikipedia.org] just because there's a few naked cherubs on it.

People like you need to wake up in the morning having done a complete "reboot" on life - start by assuming that the great majority of adult people in this world a normal, boring, law-abiding citizens who are just getting on with their own lives, and know right from wrong without people like you preaching to them...

Stupid question time (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525746)

Why isn't it illegal for the school officials to be in possession of nude pictures of underage children?

Re:Stupid question time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31526164)

Why isn't it illegal for the school officials to be in possession of nude pictures of underage children?

Because they didn't intend to.

Oh, wait, that's not a valid argument? My bad.

Background on the ideas (1, Troll)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31525938)

For those seeking more background on the general insanity of this story and "sexting" in general, see Slate.com's Textual Misconduct [slate.com] and the Economist on America's unjust sex laws: An ever harsher approach is doing more harm than good, but it is being copied around the world [economist.com] . The latter is tangentially related to the main issue but nonetheless useful.

Victim harassment (2, Insightful)

Moonrazor (897598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31526158)

If the judge has ruled that this photo is not incriminating for the girls in them, because the DA cannot prove that they produced, or distributed the photos then doesn't that mean that the girls are the "victims" here? And if the girls are the victims here, then what does that say about a prosecutor that threatens victims with false charges unless they agree to terms set by him? It sounds to me like the prosecutor is used to badgering the victims in his cases to get the outcome or version of the truth that he desires. I wonder how many other victims this guy has berated or threatened with other charges in order to get them to say what he wants them to say. Might make good ammunition for defense attorneys to ask to have another look at the witnesses that this guy has used in the past. Either way, it's not right. (and yes, I'm new to this planet)
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