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Maryland Child Porn Bills Will Exempt Teen Sexting

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Child pornography is a growing crime. It brings in billions of dollars every year and exploits so many children. Children of all ages—even as young as infants and toddlers—have been featured in sexually explicit images and videos that have been downloaded, distributed and sold.

Many states are taking action to protect children. Some are enacting stricter penalties, while some are expanding upon current laws. Maryland lawmakers have been busy reviewing current child porn laws and making modifications. Four bills have been passed recently regarding child porn and one of the biggest changes will be to exclude teen sexting.

Sexting, which involves sending and receiving sexually explicit messages or photos between cellphones, has become common practice among teens. Since many of these messages involve nude photos of minors, it is possible that high schoolers could be charged with child porn—even though the students featured in the photos often took the photos themselves and consented to the distribution.

If the General Assembly passes the bill, teens will be exempt from child porn charges in these cases. At the same time, though, lawmakers want to protect children from adult predators, so they need to know when to draw the line. Teens may willingly send sexually explicit selfies to friends and classmates, but what happens when the wrong person gets a hold of the photos and uses them to exploit their peers?

This exemption will protect children, like a 16-year-old girl who was convicted of child porn charges last year after taking selfies and sending them to others. While dozens of other states are trying to deal with this same dilemma, it won’t be easy. If legislators pass any of the four bills, this will weaken Maryland’s child porn laws, which has not happened since the state’s laws were first passed in 1978.

Two of the bills would exempt teen sexting from the state’s current laws. Two other bills would not exempt child porn but would instead create a diversion program. Minors who violate the law will have to attend an educational program about the risks of sexting. While lawmakers want to prevent unjust prosecutions, they also want Maryland teens to know that they should not sext. They want an educational program to warn them that sexting is something that is not desirable and should not be ignored.

Teens should be discouraged from sexting and repeat offenders should be punished. Doing it one time is an innocent mistake. When it is done repeatedly, it looks like a deliberate act.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Many states are cracking down on child porn, but when teens themselves are the ones engaging in forms of it, creating the perfect law can be complicated. The punishment should fit the crime, and some teens willingly show off their bodies to their peers.

Child porn can lead to harsh penalties. Reduce your charges and preserve your legal rights with help from the Columbia child pornography lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987.

Resources:

patch.com/maryland/annapolis/exemptions-teen-sexting-proposed-md-child-porn-bills

https://www.marylandlawhelp.com/glen-burnie-man-faces-child-porn-sexual-assault-charges/

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