In Minnesota, a teenage girl is facing criminal charges for distribution of child pornography when she shared a racy selfie with a male friend on a popular smartphone-based social media application.
The case has caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU) who are lending their support to the young girl. They believe going forward with the charges against the teen “undermines the seriousness and intent of child pornography laws,” which according to Minnesota statute exist to “protect minors from the physical and psychological damage caused by their being used in pornographic work depicting sexual conduct which involves minors.”
The 14-year-old female, who is being referred to as “Jane Doe” to protect her identity as she is a minor, was taking part in what she described as sexting. Sexting, which she believes is a common activity amongst her peers, refers to interactions of a sexual nature taking place through computer-mediated communications such as texting, and sharing pictures and videos.
The teenager took a seductive picture of herself and shared it with a boy that she was interested in through the popular Snapchat application. The boy copied the photo and showed it to others without her consent, and he is facing charges of violating the child pornography law as well.
If Jane Doe is found guilty she could be required to spend 10 years on the sex offenders’ register, which the ACLU stated could hinder many aspects of her future such as college, career path, obtaining a residence and more. They, along with Jane Doe’s father, believe that she is the victim and the state is acting as the perpetrator by pressing charges.
The ACLU also purports that laws have adapted to technological advancement in other states, but Minnesota has not revised their laws. They believe this not only had led to inconsistencies where some are penalized quite harshly and others not at all, but also confuses the act of sexting with child pornography, which is meant to protect minors from predators.
The ACLU has filed a brief in Jane Doe’s case in an effort to assist her, and they have additionally filed a motion in an attempt to have the charges against her dropped.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a sex crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.