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Is PA’s New Child Sexting Law Adequate And Fair?

Posted on Oct 23, 2012

In a few days, Pennsylvania will have a new child sexting law in effect.  This is unless there is a veto by the Governor which is not expected.  What are your thoughts on the new law?  Below is a summary of the new law’s provisions.

State senators gave their approval last Wednesday to a bill to create criminal penalties for minors who transmit nude or sexually explicit images of themselves or other youths. The bill passed 37-12 without debate and was sent to the House of Representatives, which overwhelmingly passed another version of it last year. The House also passed the bill and sent it to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk as the Legislature’s fall voting session winds down.

The bill is designed to punish kids who are 17 or younger for the practice known as sexting. It would impose a summary offense or a misdemeanor, depending on the situation. It also would punish a minor who knowingly possesses or views a sexually explicit image of another youth who is 12 or older. A situation involving an image of a child under 12 would likely be prosecuted under laws that are designed to protect children from sexual abuse or child pornographers and that carry punishments graded as felonies.

Under the bill, the punishments would be more severe if a minor creates an image of another youth in a state of nudity without his or her consent or transmits it with the intent to coerce, intimidate or harass him or her. A minor charged under such a law could be referred to a diversionary program and get the record of the charge expunged by successfully completing it.

A personal injury lawyer can investigate issues of alleged sexual abuse and sexual assault. If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Pennsylvania sexual assault contact Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers at (717) 888-8888 located in Harrisburg, and a personal injury attorney from our firm will answer any questions you have about the accident and the legal rights you may have due to the personal injury and losses.