ACLU urges 'compassion' when charging 'sexting' teens
Kim Wendel, www.wkyc.com, date unknown
The American Civil Liberties Union (AGLU) of Ohio sent letters to all county prosecutors and members of the Ohio General Assembly today, calling on them to respect sex offender laws and the role of law and not impose heavy-handed charges on "sexting" teens.
During the past several weeks, county prosecutors from around the state have begun to threaten that they will charge teens with felonies and sex crimes and have them labeled as sex offenders if they are caught sending nude or partially nude images to others.
State legislators have also begun to discuss possible legislation, introducing bills that would address the issue.
He said teens found to have committed a felony or, under sex offender statutes, labeled a sex offender, could be barred from certain jobs and educational programs, required to register for years with local law enforcement and have restrictions on where they may live.
Besides Ohio, other states have begun to grapple with the issue of teen sexting. In late March, the ACLU filed suit against a prosecutor in Pennsylvania because he threatened to charge three girls with sex crimes because partially nude photos of them were found on a classmate's cell phone.
The judge sided with the ACLU on March 30 and granted a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the prosecutor from filing the charges.