Police Threaten Sexting Teens With Child Porn Charges

Police are threatening students at a New Jersey middle school with child pornography charges after a naked picture of a 13-year-old student made the rounds of their mobile phones. But there may not really be much authorities can do.

According to the Wyckoff Patch, police and school authorities found out about the photo when students at Eisenhower Middle School got in an argument with the photo's subject. Says Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox, "Some girls learned that their boyfriends had the picture and then there was an argument between those girls and the girl that was involved. That was overheard by the staff and they investigated and ultimately learned what had taken place." Police announced a temporary amnesty: students had until Thursday to delete the photos or face child porn charges. Except: there's no good way for police to enforce this. Says Fox,

We say you can't have the images so the question is now what are we going to do about it. The answer is there's not a lot we can do at this juncture. It's illegal for us to start conducting searches of phones. There's no lawful way for us to go about that.

He adds, however, "law enforcement learns things. People tell us things. And if we learn those images are still out being kept or distributed we will press charges." Maybe just the threat of criminal charges will remind the kids that passing around a naked picture of their classmate isn't a great idea, but it's also clear that neither law enforcement nor school officials have really figured out exactly how to respond to sexting. One encouraging detail: the girl whose image was sent around doesn't appear to have been slapped with child porn charges or added to a sex offender registry. This, at least, is a step in the right direction.

Updated - Thursday Is Amnesty Deadline For Deletion Of Eisenhower School Sexting Images [Wyckoff Patch, via NBC New York]

Eisenhower Parents Alerted About Sexting Incident [Wyckoff Patch]

Image via rangizzz/Shutterstock.com

Republished from Jezebel


Comments

    Well if the police have no legal way of enforcing the removal, in my opinion it should automatically be taken up by parents. I can already hear the wails of "invasion of privacy"...let's face it, at age 13, there should be nothing that is that personal in their images folder, that a parent shouldn't be allowed to see-or they too would have to be involved in something illegal for minors. This is the problem when kids are given "toys" above their level of responsibility and maturity. What happened to the concept from a couple of years back of giving them something that achieves the purpose of a phone-ie calling-my kids survive just fine with a Tracfone in hand, and what's more, they think twice about the costs involved of sending something, because their limit is set low enough to cover the basics and make it an affordable option for me.

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