November 11, 2015

Two Long Island 14-Year-Olds Charged With Felonies for Producing and Sharing a Video Showing One Them Having Sex With a Girl

11-11-15 New York:

Twenty other students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones.

In today's column about the recent "sexting scandal" in CaƱon City, Colorado, I note that 17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons. One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart. In such cases, the "offenders" can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour "education reform program" that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying. Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl.

WNYW, the Fox station in New York City, reports that the two boys who were arrested are both 14. It does not give the girl's age, saying only that she was "underage," which could mean she was younger than 18, the legal cutoff for so-called child pornography, or younger than 17, the age of consent in New York. Even a teenager younger than 17 can legally have consensual sex in New York as long as her partner is no more than four years older and she is at least 13. But no one, including the girl herself, can legally record the encounter or let others see the video. ..Continued.. by Jacob Sullum

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