TRENTON – A bill regarding punishment for juveniles who send sexually explicit photos via cell phones has been signed into law.
Under A1561, offenders will face intensive education rather than criminal prosecution in an attempt to combat the practice known as “sexting.”
“This takes a practical approach to a confounding problem, rather than slapping a one-size-fits-all punishment on teenagers whose motives may be entirely different than adults that face similar charges,” said co-sponsor Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, (D-6), Camden, in a release.
According to a 2008 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, roughly one-in-five teens – including 11 percent of girls aged 13 to 16 – have sent a nude or semi-nude picture or video of themselves to friends or posted one on a Web site.
The law creates an educational program for juvenile offenders. Participants will learn about the potential state and federal legal consequences and penalties for “sexting” as well as its personal costs: its effect on relationships, its impact on school life and the loss of future employment opportunities.
County prosecutors will determine who could be admitted into the program and juveniles who successfully complete it will avoid trial.