Fix the disparity in sexting law

March 17, 2017

A 13-year-old found “sexting” could be charged with a misdemeanor in Connecticut. But a 12-year-old committing the same crime could end up with a felony.

How could there be such an unfair difference in treatment? When the sexting law was passed in 2010 lawmakers did not expect that pre-teens would engage in such behavior. Oh, but they do.

It is a dismal indication of the pressures, and opportunities, children face today. Reality dictates that the law must be updated.

The Judiciary Committee is considering lowering the age for sexting crimes in a bill introduced by state Rep. Steven J. Stafstrom, a Democrat from Bridgeport. House Bill 6002, “An Act Concerning Sexting by a Child,” ensures that children younger than 13 would be charged with a misdemeanor for sexting instead of a felony for child pornography.

Sexting, a word coined only a dozen years ago, pertains to sending sexually explicit images or messages by cell phone or social media. Both the sender and the recipient can be charged.

The behavior reaches into middle school, with 56 percent of children aged 8 to 12 having their own cell phones, according to the website Growing Wireless. Inappropriate photos may be taken and sent on a dare, or to impress a boyfriend or girlfriend or in a misguided attempt to seem sophisticated.

Read the entire CT Post editorial.