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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sexting


This space has been used to raise some issues regarding Luzerne County district attorney Jackie Musto Carroll in the past, but I'm a fair person. She gets it on at least one major issue.

I attended a Women's History Month program at Coughlin High School in Wilkes-Barre yesterday. The "sexting" issue came up. Ms. Carroll uttered the key phrase yesterday: "The law has to catch up with technology."

You hate to see a kid in major trouble, with a lifetime criminal record, for a youthful indiscretion, but that's what the law calls for at this time. Clearly, it was written well before the cell phone age. The district attorney in Wyoming County has been caught in the trap. The American Civil Liberties Union has dragged him in to federal court.

Luzerne County's district attorney says she's reluctant to prosecute sexting violators, and her life would be easier if kids would just stop doing it. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Judging by the titters from the kids in the Coughlin auditorium, it's been happening a lot. All the publicity lately has probably increased the sexting incidents, rather than reducing them. I'm not picking on the Wilkes-Barre kids. The issue is more widespread than that.

Many sexting photos fit the legal definition of child pornography, but you have to look at the intent. For the most part, it appears to be kids doing foolish things rather than perverted porn freaks running amok with a cell phone.

It's going to take a multi layered approach to fix the problem. It starts in the home and in the schools, but the ultimate answer has to be found in Harrisburg and Washington. Jackie Musto Carroll is right. The law has to catch up with technology.