New Proposal Seeks Education Rather than Prosecution for Sexting Teens

New York state is working on a bill that would send teens caught sharing naked photos of minors or sexting to an educational reform program, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The “Cyber Crime Youth Rescue Act” was introduced last Friday, but has yet to hit the Senate. The program aims to give prosecutors and judges a more lenient option for dealing with teenagers accused of using their cellphones, email or social-networking sites to spread sexually explicit pictures of themselves or their peers.

“There are too many kids who are getting themselves into serious trouble for adolescent behavior,” said Alan Maisel, a Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn and a co-sponsor of the bill. “I don’t know if they should be tainted with this evil brush for the rest of their lives.”

The training program would act as an alternative to prosecution. Judges could assign mandatory training to first-time offenders who are 18 years old or younger. Prosecutors would have to determine that the child did not intend to commit a crime and that directing them to the program would be more beneficial than criminal prosecution.

Children in the program would also learn about the potential legal consequences for sharing explicit images and how doing so can affect future careers and relationships. The program would also warn them about “the nearly unlimited ability of an infinite audience to utilize the Internet search for and replicate materials,” the bill said.

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