The act of “Sexting”, or sending sexually explicit images or texts can lead to felony sex offender charges under Michigan law, even by willing participants. That is the conclusion of one attorney, in discussing an investigation by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department into alleged “sexting” by teens who are students at Dakota High School.What is not discussed or hinted at in this article from WDIV clickondetroit.com is how insane that fact is. The attorney in the article lays out how a teen girl taking pictures of herself and sending them to her boyfriend can be charged with manufacturing child pornography, and face 20 years in prison and a lifetime as a registered sex offender.
There is no doubt that sexting is a dumb thing to do, but is should dumb behavior by teenagers that harms no one else really a major felony offense?
In states nationwide, there is a push to reform state sexting laws, to make them fit the crime actually committed. Sex offender laws need to catch up with the reality of juvenile sexual behavior and exploration in a world where every teen has a camera phone with them at all times.
These child pornography laws were meant to prosecute sexual predators, not teens doing something stupid.
Reform efforts in Pennsylvania and many other states are working on laws to allow for misdemeanor offenses, juvenile courts, and education program to find a punishment and deterrent that truly fits the crime, if a crime is even committed.
Of course there can certainly be cases of sexting where coercion is used, photos are distributed without the original sender’s permission, or where adults are pressuring and threatening teens.
Sex offender law reform to reflect the actual action taken and harm committed is necessary to reflect reality, and not destroy kids lives for a momentary lapse of judgement.
Please contact us for a consultation on any criminal sexting charge or sex offense in Michigan.