It boggles the mind what children are capable of these day. Back in the day, when this humble criminal defense attorney was in school and had I wanted to pass a secret message on to another classmate that I crush on, we typically had to write it in cursive on paper that we’d fold up into a tiny object that could be passed unnoticed – and there were no nude photos or drawings for that matter.
We also had to watch what we were writing because you never knew if a teacher would intercept the love letter. But kids text today, and if they send inappropriate content and/or pictures, that could be a felony for sexting.
A Felony For Sexting
Apparently, according to an April 11, 2016 KKTV 11 News report, the method of getting the attention of kids you have a crush on these days is by using your smartphone to send naked pictures of yourself to others. This is evidenced by the fact that Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has been called in by Pine Creek High School and Challenger Middle School in District 20 concerning a sexting scandal.
Alleged Details Concerning the Sexting Students
The following is a chronological look at what investigators have discovered so far in their investigation:
- The investigation seems to involve four students at Pine Creek High School and one student at Challenger Middle School and centers on one picture of a half-nude student that has been circulated amongst themselves, according to a KOAA 5 News report.
- Investigators say the photo was passed willingly by those involved.
- Javier Morales, a recent graduate of Pine Creek High School, told investigators that sexting has been a problem at that school for years. “It’s high school, and kids are going to do stupid stuff like this,” he said.
- Morales was surprised to hear it only involved a small number of students. These days, he claims, it could have involved hundreds of students and numerous other schools in the area.
- Morales said it’s normal nowadays to get naked pictures of other students, even unsolicited ones. “It’s just how it works now days with the whole smartphone and social media thing. One picture can spread like wildfire.”
- All it takes is one photo to become a felony, said CSPD Lt. Catherine Buckley.
- Buckley issued a stark warning to parents that the incident should serve as a wake up call, because it could very easily be any of their own children’s photos being passed around.
- Another danger Buckley warned is that these kinds of photos can end up on the Internet and be out there for the rest of the life of the students.
- Once the investigation is completed the findings will be sent to the district attorney’s office to decide if felony charges should be filed.
Colorado Sexting Laws and Punishment
Last year, Colorado Springs saw another sexting ring at Cañon City High School that involved more than 100 students sharing more than 100 nude photos. So far, no students have been charged in the state with a felony when criminally charged with sexting. Here’s the current state of laws in Colorado regarding sexting:
- Sexting remains a felony crime in the state, because if it involves nude photos of minors which is considered illegal underage pornography.
- Anyone convicted of a felony for passing such illegal underage pornographic photos would be required to register as a sex offender.
- A recent bill went before the Colorado State House to lessen the penalty of the crime when it involves students or minors to lessen the offense to a petty crime or misdemeanor. The bill failed 7-6 on the House floor.
So, What Do You Say to Your Teen?
According to a new study conducted by researchers at Drexel University, 54 percent of college students responded that they either sent or received “sexually explicit text messages or images” when under the age of 18. It’s probably a problem most parents have to deal with at one point or another. So, should you tell to your teen to do?
- The strictest approached is to tell your teen that sexting is off-limits, period, end of story!
- Remind them that anything they share can become permanent online.
- A Drexel study found 26% of respondents claim they shared their sext with others.
- If they insist on participating in this activity, tell them to reserve it for only those they are in a relationship with. Tell them to prevent casual sexting, since casual sex isn’t safe either.
- Let them know what the legal ramifications are of their behavior and let it sink in.
Colorado Springs Criminal Lawyer Shimon Kohn
Do you have a child that has been charged with sexting? If so, call a Colorado Springs Criminal Defence lawyer at Kohn Law Firm at (719) 328-9555 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page. From our offices in Colorado Springs, we represent clients throughout the Pikes Peak region and Colorado.
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