There have been numerous recent cases in the media related to how nude photos emailed or sent by text message are made public and posted online for anyone to see. While the problem is well known for celebrities, a recent case in South Florida shows how many legal and criminal issues are involved in this matter. The Miami Herald underlines such an issue happening in South Florida. Students at Weston’s Cypress Bay High School are the subject of a website that features more than a dozen sexually explicit photos of teenage girls from the school, sometimes including even the girls’ name. In this matter, the Broward’s Sheriff’s Office is investigating the website as possible child pornography, because in the case of minors, the child pornography laws apply.
In the case of child porn, everyone forwarding or in possession of this kind of photos and materials is subjected to criminal charges and time in prison. From this point of view, people who get involved in this kind of issues, willingly or unwillingly, need to remember that individuals who forward the photos or the link to the website could face longer jail time than the teens who actually posted the pictures online. Even teenagers can face the charge of disseminating child porn, though they are usually tried in a juvenile court proceeding. Either way, remember that being criminally charged based on child pornography laws is a very serious issue, therefore, if you get involved in such a situation, look for legal counsel as soon as possible, since you are facing not only significant time in prison, but also being categorized as a sex offender.
Before the need for a criminal lawyer’s advice even arises, remember that you need to prevent being involved in such issues. There are many resources available online providing advice on how to avoid and deal with this situation if it arises, such as advice provided by different associations and government institutions (Connect Safely, Sexting Prevention, Sexting Dangers). Take advantage of these resources especially if you are a parent who needs to provide guidance and advice to a teenager. Moreover, if you are the receiver of such photos do not forward or save them and announce the authorities in order to prevent being involved in criminal issues, as well as look for legal advice as soon as possible. Nevertheless, make sure you also avoid getting involved in this kind of legal problems as a potential subject, by not texting or emailing any nude pictures of yourself.