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Teen Couple From Wisconsin Charged With Child Porn For Self-Pics

We recently posted about the legal dangers associated with child pornography. The law takes possession of child pornography very seriously. Someone who gets convicted of this crime could face years in prison, fines, and be forced to register as a sex offender.

While the accusations are serious, context needs to be considered. What happens when a minor shares self-taken nude photos with another minor? Is it still considered a felony?

In Wisconsin the answer is apparently yes. Two teenagers from Marquette County were initially charged with possession of child pornography. A 16-year-old girl took nude photos of herself and shared them with her boyfriend, who is one year older than her. Despite the fact that the photos were voluntarily taken and shared, and despite the fact that both teenagers were minors, they were charged with possession of child pornography.

The girl was recently offered a legal deal. The charges against her will be dropped if she maintains a clean criminal record for the next 18 months. The girl must now agree to a deal to keep herself out of legal trouble even though she was charged with possessing nude photos of herself. She was apparently the victim and the perpetrator of this crime.

To complicate matters further, the charges against the girl will be dropped, but her boyfriend is still being charged with a felony. Because he is now 18, the penalties against him will be severe if he is convicted of this sex crime. If he is forced to register as a sex offender, the accusations against him may follow him for the rest of his life.

There could be a strong argument made that what the two teens did was morally wrong. However, assigning criminal punishment for this mistake may be taking things too far. And while it is important for the legal system to crack down on possession of child pornography, context needs to be carefully considered in every case.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal online, "Teen accused of possession of child porn will not face charges," Patricia Simms, 14 February 2011

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