but even compliant individuals face the shame and scrutiny of public reporting. Michelle Manchir, , Chicago Tribune (posted March 18, 2010), online at A similar bill, HB 4583, passed the Illinois House on March 11.
has sent sexually suggestive, nude or semi-nude "sext" messages by phone or otherwise.
This article discusses the high-stakes legal issues raised by sexting and their implications for counsel to teens, parents, and schools.
Finding and deleting an unsolicited sext message an hour after its receipt better demonstrates involuntary possession than does carrying a sext message on the phone for two months or more.
The Act dictates that cell phones used for sexting by minors must be For example, students who post prohibited pictures on their Facebook pages have likely violated federal criminal law. In Illinois, someone who commits the offense of child pornography is a "sex offender" and must register and report as such.
Because of their age, a vast majority of sexting teenagers attend school.
Thus, even if the likelihood that sexting teens will be charged with a felony is remote, school districts cannot ignore the disruptive and potentially tragic consequences of sexting among their students. Teen sexting confronts attorneys and courts with new and complicated legal issues.Moreover, a sexting teen's social and legal problems often converge at the schoolhouse door.Enacting this bill or one like it into law would be a huge step in the right direction. Cell phones have become ubiquitous among students, but the law has been slow to catch up. Illinois legislators should continue to examine incidents of sexting and how the current law applies to them. In addition to risking reputation and self-esteem, sexting teenagers also expose themselves, their peers, and their school administrators to significant criminal liability. Most alarmingly, a sexting minor, or a recipient of a sext message from a minor, may have committed one or more felonies under the Illinois Child Pornography Act (the "Act").