555 Skokie Blvd., Suite 500, Northbrook, IL 60062

Free Initial Consultation

847-239-4703 | 773-383-8745

Teen Sexting Cases Are Not Child’s Play

Posted on in Sexual Offenses

teen sexting, sex crimes, Cook County criminal defense attorneyEarlier this year, four Chicago-area teens were charged in relationship to sexting, a practice that is becoming increasingly common for young people and adults around the country and throughout the world. In separate case, a North Carolina teen was listed on a warrant as both the defendant and the victim in a sexting-related arrest. The constant availability of electronic communication, combined with the often questionable decision-making skills of teenagers, has led to growing concern over an issue that, in many jurisdictions, is tantamount to the dissemination of child pornography.

What is Sexting?

The word “sexting” has been thrown around quite a bit in recent years, and its precise definition varies depending on the situation. An amalgamation of the words “sex” and “texting,” the term generally refers to the sending of nude, semi-nude, or sexually explicit images by cell phone or other electronic device. Most often, sexting includes “selfies,” or photos taken by the sender for the express purpose of sharing them electronically. According to studies, more than half of all American teens have sent or received sexting messages, prior to reaching age 18.

Should Sexting Be a Criminal Matter?

Teenagers who participate in sexting are often unaware of the potential consequences. They tend to think that since it is their own bodies, and the photos are being transmitted with their consent, there is no problem. However, most laws regarding obscenity and child pornography were drafted long before the advent of camera-equipped smartphones, Wi-Fi, and unlimited data plans. A sexually explicit image of a minor may be considered child pornography regardless of who took it and under what circumstances.

Recent efforts in Illinois, however, have begun to address the issue in different fashion. In fact, the state’s criminal code was amended to allow for out-of-court resolutions of such cases, allowing for a focus on education and intervention, rather than criminal prosecution. Many believe the new approach is a vast improvement over a crime-and-punishment pattern that could ruin the lives of teens before they ever really get started.

Legal Help for Your Teen

If your child has been found with evidence of sexting and criminal charges have become possibility, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Matthew R. Gebhardt fully understands the law and is prepared to help your teen find a workable resolution that addresses the problem but will protect his or her future. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation and put our knowledge and skill to work for your family.






Back to Top