Sexting – the phenomenon of sending sexually explicit photos via cell phone – has received much media coverage in the last few weeks because this behavior, disturbingly, seems to be something of a pasttime among some adolescents. A round-up of some of the articles I’ve enountered:
A growing number of teens are ending up in serious trouble for sending racy photos with their cellphones.
Police have investigated more than two dozen teens in at least six states this year for sending nude images of themselves in cellphone text messages, which can bring a charge of distributing child pornography. Authorities typically are notified by parents or schools about so-called “sexting.”
This week in Spotsylvania, Va., two boys, ages 15 and 18, were charged with solicitation and possession of child porn with intent to distribute after an investigation found they sought nude pictures from three juveniles — one in elementary school.
“It’s absolutely becoming a bigger problem,” says Michelle Collins of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Of the 2,100 children the center has identified as victims of online porn, she says, one-fourth initially sent the images themselves.
Two students in Spotsylvania County [Virginia] have been charged with child pornography after police found nude images of juveniles on their cell phones. The so-called “sexting” incident was uncovered by a school resource officer at Spotsylvania High School. According to a court filing, the investigation concluded that the two teenage suspects had solicited the images from three juveniles, including elementary and middle school students. The two accused students were charged Tuesday with possession of child pornography with intent to distribute and electronic solicitation.
It’s like texting, but with racy pictures.
Mostly it’s happening among teenagers, which technically makes it a child pornography crime.
Nonetheless, it’s catching on across the nation:
- An Ohio teenager sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend and when they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls, who harassed Jesse Logan. The ordeal sent her into a spiraling depression. In July, 2008, Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.
- A 19-year-old Polk County man was accused of sending naked pictures of himself on his cell phone to a 14-year-old girl’s cell phone. Ronald Eugene Steward made his first appearance before a Polk judge this week and was ordered held under $105,000 bail.
- Over the weekend, Pinellas County middle school teacher Christy Lynn Martin, 32, was arrested on allegations she sent naked pictures of herself to the cell phone of a 14-year-old boy, an eighth-grader at Azalea Middle School, where she worked. She was released this week after posting $20,000 bail.
After his former girlfriend taunted him, Phillip Alpert remembered the nude photos she e-mailed to him while they were dating.
He took revenge with an electronic blast — e-mailing the photos of the 16-year-old girl to more than 70 people, including her parents, grandparents and teachers.
Three days later, Alpert, then 18, was charged with transmitting child pornography. Alpert today is serving five years of probation for the crime, and he is registered as a sex offender — a label he must carry at least until he is 43.
“I didn’t know how bad of a decision it was,” Alpert, now 19, said recently at his MetroWest apartment. “I don’t think it’s fair.”