Later this month, a North Carolina high school student will appear in a state court and face five child pornography-related charges for engaging in consensual sexting with his girlfriend.
What’s strange is that of the five charges he faces, four of them are for taking and possessing nude photos of himself on his own phone—the final charge is for possessing one nude photo his girlfriend took for him. There is no evidence of coercion or further distribution of the images anywhere beyond the two teenagers’ phones.
Similarly, the young woman was originally charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor—but was listed on her warrant for arrest as both perpetrator and victim. The case illustrates a bizarre legal quandry that has resulted in state law being far behind technology and unable to distinguish between predatory child pornography and innocent (if ill-advised) behavior of teenagers.
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