Sexting typically involves the transmission of images of individuals naked or semi-naked, some of which are engaged in illicit or sexual activities. Many times it’s two teenagers engaged in a personal relationship showing intimate moments in front of a camera. If minors are involved in producing and/or transmitting sexual images on their “smart” phones, they may wish they didn’t. Under the laws of the United States it is illegal to take photographs or images of minors, those individuals under 18 years in a manner depicting said images engaged in sexually explicit conduct such as lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of the minor. A photograph of a naked child in and of itself does not constitute child pornography. (As an example a child taking a bath is not child pornography.) It is the nature of the image that is important. (See Conn. Gen Statute § 53a-196h, et seq.)
All too often children in high school or even junior high school think it is “fun” or “cool” to transmit these images of naked students via their cell phones to one another. Any image of a child (under 18) engaged in any suggestive sexual activity or pose may constitute a crime of child pornography subjecting the young person to exposure to prison and a felony record. For example, if any teenager between the ages of 13 and 15 knowingly transmit by a smart phone or computer a visual depiction of himself or herself or another person under 18 years of age, nude or semi-nude engaged in a sexual act, they are committing a crime under the laws of the State of Connecticut and would be subject to prosecution. It is illegal under Connecticut law for a minor between the ages of 13 and 17 to even possess such an image. The punishment can constitute a Class A misdemeanor and could result in a punishment of up to a year per count and/or a $2000 fine. (CGS § 53a-196h) The good news, relatively speaking, is that under Connecticut law such arrests are usually handled in the juvenile court system with the opportunity to have the proceeding sealed as against the public.
The lawyers at Brown, Paindiris and Scott LLP for decades have been handling matters involving juveniles with an eye on protecting the child’s valuable record against criminal records that can stay with a young person for a lifetime. Should a loved one find themselves involved in a serious situation, you can contact us in one of our several offices to discuss your matter with an experienced member of our defense team.