Teen sexting conviction upheld

The teenager, Jorge Canal, was an 18-year-old high school student at the time of the incident in 2005. His misdemeanor conviction for sending sexually explicit photos to a 14-year-old student in his school was upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court, USATODAY reports. The two students “had known each other as friends for roughly a year, according to the ruling. The girl, identified by initials C.E., testified that she asked [him] to send the photo three or four times, as a joke, and not to excite any feelings.” The judge in his original trial “granted him a deferred judgment with a $250 fine and one year of probation,” but he was required to register as a sex offender. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has just released its “Policy Statement on Sexting,” which asks questions including, “Was the distribution of the photos done with no malicious regard or desire to harm another, or was it the result of malicious intent by one or more senders?”; “What was the intent behind the production of the photos, on a severity scale ranging from a benign reason to supporting a separate and malicious criminal purpose?”; and “Will prosecution achieve a result which addresses the larger problem of ‘sexting’ adequately?” There isn’t much guidance associated with the potential answers to those questions, but they’re important questions. This was not the reporting process in the case above, but all students need to know that schools are required by state laws to report sexting incidents to law enforcement when they become aware of them, and NCMEC says in its statement that federal law requires it to refer all sexting reports it receives through its CyberTipline(.com) “to the appropriate law-enforcement agency for investigation. NCMEC does not determine whether photos are actual child pornography or a violation of any laws. [See also ConnectSafely.org’s Tips to Prevent Sexting.]


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