State attorney general on teen sexting

By Anne Collier

It’s good to hear a state attorney general – in this case, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott – saying teens shouldn’t necessarily be prosecuted for sexting. His view was cited in a sexting story that may involve prosecution because it allegedly involves blackmail on the part of a high school student. report by the Brownsville Herald. It started with flirting, according to the Herald. “Jorge Suchil exchanged text messages with a 16-year-old girl…. The cell phone message exchange eventually turned sexual, with the 17-year-old Suchil asking the girl to send him a photo of her topless, police said. The girl eventually agreed…. The girl later told police that Suchil demanded she send him a completely nude photo. If she didn’t, police said, Suchil told her he would pass the topless shot on to his friends’ cell phones.” He may be charged as an adult. “It is both inappropriate and potentially illegal” for teens to engage in sexting, General Abbott said in a news conference earlier this year, adding that prosecuting them for sexting is “not the goal…. Our society is not necessarily going to be improved by putting a bunch of teens behind bars.” Four percent of US 12-to-17-year-olds have sent a sexually suggestive nude or semi-nude photo or video of themselves via cellphone, and 15% had received one on their mobile from someone they know personally, according to the latest data from the Pew/Internet project (see this). [See also “Sexting primer for parents: In case some basics would help” and ConnectSafely’s sexting prevention tips.]

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