wweek.com Readers Comment On…“Sext Crimes”

"It's crazy for any legal statute to be so vague that this happens. Treating people who are under 18 but over 15 as child pornography is ridiculous.…[If I] am a 16-year-old girl and I use my computer to e-mail some naked pictures of myself to my 16-year-old boyfriend, it's no problem.

But if I do that through text messaging on a cell phone, I get thrown in jail for 25 years?

That doesn't make any sense. I think sexting should be legal as long as people are not distributing actual child pornography (13 y/o or younger) and we should repeal all mandatory minimum sentencing laws.…"


"Aside from terrorizing relatively innocent youngsters, this sort of prosecutorial indiscretion has the perverse effect of trivializing laws designed to take truly heinous offenders off the streets." —Edward Hershey

"This is a phenomenal and absolutely necessary piece of reporting. It's widely known even among other District Attorney offices that the Washington County DA's office is the laughingstock of the state. The phrase "charging discretion" is absent from their vocabulary.… This is what happens when complacent suburbanites sign 'public safety' ballot initiative after initiative, giving the DA's office seemingly unlimited funds and no one asks where this money goes.

It's interesting how this is the one DA's office in the state that added new attorneys during the budget crises, while other offices were forced to cut as many as 25 percent of their staff…." —Prosecutor Joe

"They were three years apart in age at the time they met, but both were teenagers…. You do not magically transform from callow youth to wise adult on your 18th birthday. We all know people age 18+ who are still growing up. In fact, there's research out there that shows that a person's brain is still developing well into their 20s. And we all also know youth under age 18 who are mature beyond their years. You need to cut teenagers and young adults at this age some slack; they're still growing, learning, and hormonally charged. You don't prosecute them and give them a felony conviction (which will cause them trouble with employers the rest of their lives) and threaten them with inclusion in the sex-offender registry.

I myself don't get why teenagers and young adults sext, but Lord knows I did a lot of things as a teenager that perplexed adults. What they did was not smart, but calling down the full force of the law is a miscarriage of justice. Yes, we can't encourage this kind of behavior, but instead of locking people up we should be educating them as to why it's a bad idea and giving them (at most) a misdemeanor to put a little bit of a scare into them without damaging their reputations and employability for the rest of their lives." — Davey_Blunkett