Legislation has passed Vermont's Senate and is pending in the House that would decriminalize but not legalize teen sexting. The bill would take child-porn charges off the table in cases where teens send or receive nude images of themselves or peers, Yahoo Tech News reports. The bill wouldn't legalize sexting, but "would carve out an exemption from prosecution for child pornography for 13-to-18-year-olds on either the sending or receiving end of sexting messages, so long as the sender voluntarily transmits an image of himself or herself." Yahoo adds that Vermont prosecutors could "still use laws against lewd and lascivious conduct and against disseminating indecent materials to a minor." The Vermont legislation makes sense for most sexting incidents – those involving impulsive, self-destructive, or "romantic" consensual behavior among peers – but some legal scholars feel serious charges may need to remain an option in cases where malicious or criminal intent's involved. The Yahoo article details criminal charges teens face for sexting in a number of states.
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