Thursday, April 18, 2013
"Sexting" cases with teens grow more troubling for prosecutors in VA, MD
A teen “sexting” case goes to trial in Fairfax County, VA, according to a Washington Post story Thursday morning by Justin Jouvenal. In another case, in Franklin County VA, a 15 year old teen with Asperger’s goes on trial. In many of these cases, teens were not aware of the possible legal consequences of their actions. The link for the story is here.
When teens are tried as adults, there is little that can be done to avoid prison terms and sex offender registry. The juvenile system has more options.
Attempts in both Virginia and Maryland to provide lesser offenses when data is shared only among “willing” teens haven’t gotten far yet.
Dr. Phil has often remarked that cases like these show the physiological immaturity of the teen brain, which cannot “see around corners” and imagine the possible consequences in the adult world.
Prosecutors say that sexted images and videos wind up on the Internet or in the hands of criminals and can tarnish (usually) females depicted for life. But it would be almost impossible for most younger teens to grasp such consequences.
For what it’s worth, the AP has described another “Lorena Bobbitt” case (1993) in southern California recently.