Free-Range Kids

Sexting Didn't Ruin This Girl's Life, But an Arrest Might Have

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Sexting
Wikimedia Commons

Michaela Snyder, a 15-year-old girl from Woodbury, Minnesota, was in seventh grade when her boyfriend asked her to sext with him. She complied—sending him semi-nude pictures of herself—but eventually her mother found the photos on her phone. 

Michaela then became the subject of intense bullying at school because rumors spread that she had deliberately ratted out her boyfriend. (While I don't think every bad experience at school counts as bullying, this sounds like the real deal: Kids tripping her, boycotting her at lunch, and telling her she should "die.")

The whole ordeal sounds just horrible. So here's the ironic part, according to Ruben Rosario in TwinCities.com:

If you think this could not happen to your child, consider that Michaela is the daughter of Grant Snyder, a veteran Minneapolis police sergeant in the crimes against children unit who has spent most of his career busting pimps and trying to help sexually exploited young girls and women.

"I talked openly with her about the cases I worked on, how (pimps) manipulate girls into (doing drugs and performing sex for money)," he said. "I believe if you gave information, that was protection enough. It wasn't.

It's not just ironic that her dad deals with sex crimes. It's ironic that he could have arrested his daughter for creating and disseminating child porn had he wanted to. Then she would have ended up on the sex offender registry.  That's how easy it is to ruin a life.

Sext arrests among minors aren't theoretical. Remember this story? A 17-year-old boy and his 15-year-old girlfriend were exchanging sexts. The boy was arrested and photographed—sans undies—to certify him as the miscreant. But that wasn't enough. The authorities actually wanted to take him to a hospital and give him an erection drug (vodka?) to make absolutely sure he was the—forgive me—hardened criminal in the original photo that they were calling child porn.

free-range-kids

Only universal ridicule stopped them.

The happy ending to Michaela's trauma is that she did not end up on the sex offender list. What's more, she rose above the shame, realized that other young people are probably in her same situation, and has gone public with her story as a sort of motivational cautionary tale. Right on!

I hope she takes her story to law enforcement agencies next, to remind them that often teens make regrettable choices when it comes to sex. That doesn't make them sex offenders. It makes them young, horny, dumb. In other words, human.

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  1. “he could have arrested his daughter for creating and disseminating child porn had he wanted to”

    So could his colleagues in the police department. I’m sure they’re going to do it any time now, just as they would for the daughter of a peasant.

    1. I think that that and this are pretty related.

      The happy ending to Michaela’s trauma is that she did not end up on the sex offender list. What’s more, she rose above the shame, realized that other young people are probably in her same situation, and has gone public with her story as a sort of motivational cautionary tale.

      1. “It’s ironic that he could have arrested his daughter for creating and disseminating child porn had he wanted to.”

        edit: It’s ironic that he WOULD have arrested YOUR SON for creating and disseminating child porn had he AN OPPORTUNITY.

        1. I’m actually very surprised the cop dad didn’t arrest the boy for possession of child porn and just delete the nude pics from his daughters phone.

          1. I see a career in law enforcement for you. that’s good policin’

  2. young horny and dumb is no way to go through life son

    1. If it was good enough for me, then goddammit its good enough for you.

      1. Shut up, dad! I’m taking the car…

  3. I am not certain but I am pretty sure there are still nudist resorts in this country where families including children go and run around nude for the weekend. In Europe there are mineral baths where everyone boy girl man and woman are naked in the same large spa. Yet no one to my knowledge is claiming that those 14 year old girls whose parents take them to such things lives are ruined. And I see no reason to think that they would be.

    Given that, how exactly is a nude picture of a girl getting out supposed to ruin her life when dozens of men looking at her naked in person doesn’t? We really have lost our minds in this country. America has a more screwed up and insane view of sex than it ever had even at its Puritan worst. The Puritans hung people for adultery but at least their beliefs were internally consistent and rational. Today America doesn’t hang people but instead locks them up and brands them a deviant for life and doesn’t even have a rational view of sex to show for it.

    1. Quit victim blaming. It’s not societies fault, just mens.

      1. Quit enabling his victim blaming. It’s just the straight white men.

        1. Quit enabling the enabling of his victim-blaming! It’s just the cis-straight white men!

    2. I drive by one every day up here in rural New Hampshire. I don’t quite get the concept of a nudist camp in this part of the world. What do they do the other 8 months of the year ? Be naked indoors ? I don’t have to go to a special place to do that.

      1. I don’t get it either. And I am pretty sure I don’t want to see the people who go to those things naked.

        Europe is a bit different. In Germany at least going to the baths is a very mainstream and popular thing. The experience of seeing the typical German bath goer naked is much different and can if the German is female and under 50 be quite pleasant.

        1. I was on a whale watching catamaran in Hawaii once with a group of German tourists. We all were in t shirts and shorts, typical American dress for a day on a boat. But once we settled in to cruising, all the Germans stripped down further to string bikinis and speedos. They clearly had a different idea of how one dressed for a day on a boat.

          1. I find German women to be generally very attractive. You see very few fat German women. They tend to be thin but still have a good share of curves.

            1. Yes, curves=good.

              Can’t remember where I heard this, but holding a skinny woman is like hugging a bag of antlers.

          2. this ^ is common.
            and the speedos are horrible

        2. I’m soooo into the aryan look.

    3. Given that, how exactly is a nude picture of a girl getting out supposed to ruin her life when dozens of men looking at her naked in person doesn’t? We really have lost our minds in this country.

      It’s like all the depictions of enlightened, magnanimous Americans who introduce the native heathen savages to technology of photography and the savages reject it under the belief that the technology steals their souls.

      Except in reverse.

      1. That is a good analogy. We really do seem to be devolving away from modern man and towards primitive man.

        1. We’ve always been three steps out of the cave. The only difference is the toys.

    4. Seems like alot of Americans have about as rational a view of human sexuality as they do of pocket knives.

      1. This is a generalization and completely anecdotal, but it seems to me that the more sexually liberated people are, the more they irrationally fear weapons. At least in western society.

      2. What I do with my knife and my penis is none of your fucking business!

    5. (a) I would imagine (not having been to one) that nudist camps would be as anti-erotic as one can imagine.

      (b) I think that we focus our Puritanism on a narrower area – more and more areas of what used to be sexual misconduct now elicit a “meh,” there are a few remaining areas where we compensate for our undue tolerance in those other areas – an understandable desire to protect children metastasizes into treating sexters like felons, abhorrence of rape translates into weird consent doctrines which penalize many de fact consensual acts, and the intolerance of intolerance by which private parties aren’t allowed to act on their traditional sexual mores (eg, bakers, landlords, etc.)

      1. 1. Erotic is in the eye of the beholder. Most naked selfies are not very erotic either or at least don’t seem that way to me. Something is only “erotic” or not because the viewer makes it so. There is no objective way to say something is erotic. To most people going to the doctor is about as not erotic as you can get. To people that have a medical fetish, it is the height of eroticism. Neither party is right or wrong.

        2. Yes, some of this is over compensation for our tolerance of other issues. But that is just a symptom of the deeper problem that we have no coherent view of sex and eroticism. The same people who obsess about pedophiles let their preteen daughters wear outfits a single adult woman would be embarrassed to wear out to a club. The same people who support affirmative consent laws and worry about the “rape culture” think BDSM is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice.

        We have stopped judging things using our reason. Instead, we judge based on fashion and emotion. And the results are not pretty.

        1. I wonder how much religion still has to do with it. Defining the most natural and normal aspects of being human as bad, wrong, sinful. A clerical version of that line from Atlas Shrugged, we expect those laws to be broken because there is no way to rule over honest men.

          1. Uh, let’s take an analogy – traditional Christian teaching doesn’t say it’s wrong to eat, just that it’s wrong to be a glutton (though there’s less guilt-mongering here than you find with the modern fitness obsessives). Traditional teaching doesn’t say it’s wrong to rest from labor, just that it’s wrong to be slothful. And nothing wrong with marital sex, it’s adultery and similar abuses which are wrong.

          2. Religion is not to blame. When the country was more religious we were much more rational about these things. Really, we were not even any less tolerant back then. People were very judgmental about public sexuality but also didn’t define their entire lives by their sexuality and respected people’s privacy much more. Basically, in the past you could do a lot of things as long as you were discreet about it.

            1. I think my new catchphrase is going to be “Thank the Progressives!”

              I guarantee you that nudity wasn’t much of a problem when the whole family was stuffed into a Conestoga wagon, training with 5 or 6 other families in their wagons. Sure, if you were being intentionally lewd, it would be a problem, but they had to bathe in rivers and all sleep within 25 feet of one another. Incidental nudity was likely the norm, not the exception.

        2. It’s a symptom of the deeper problem that we have to be mean about something.

      2. I swear, in the next 50 years, we will return to the (somewhat mythical) sexual mores of the 1950s. Schools will be segregated by sex to prevent rape and people can only have sex in the context of a societally agreed upon arrangement to ensure consent. It’s almost like there’s a lesson in there about destroying a tradition you don’t understand. Nah, couldn’t be.

    6. Well, at least under many state laws, including Pennsylvania, a photograph of a nude child isn’t automatically child porn. It has to “appeal to prurient interests” or some other similar standard.

  4. While I don’t think every bad experience at school counts as bullying, this sounds like the real deal: Kids tripping her, boycotting her at lunch, and telling her she should “die.”

    I’m hard pressed to see anything except maybe the death threats as any sort of bullying and/or related to sexting.

    At least, I would stand firmly opposed to any school that tried to enact any serious or punitive anti-tripping policy.

    Kudos to the girl for standing up to the ridiculousness of convicting children for taking photos.

    1. Not sure there are any kudos to be handed out. The lesson seems to be, it’s good to have a dad that’s part of the aristocracy.

      1. True enough. I meant no kudos for simply beating the rap and it is an assumption on my part that her “going public with her story as a sort of motivational cautionary tale” would lead to more rational and/or positive outcomes.

        Rereading, I’m extremely irked that there isn’t even a consideration for whatever, presumably equally bad if not worse, punishment happened to her boyfriend.

    2. The other thing is that kids are going to follow the lead of what adults tell them. If the adults act like naked pictures of a kid is going to ruin the kid’s life, the kid is likely to believe that too making it a self fulfilling prophecy.

      There is nothing that necessarily makes such a thing damaging. It is damaging because our societal mores make it so. That is not a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with people having a sense of shame and modesty within reason. If we are going to have such, however, we also need a sense of proportion and perspective about that.

      I see no rational reason why someone seeing you naked even under embarrassing circumstances should be a life changing event. We seem to have lost our ability to have any sort of measured response to things. Everything is either a lifestyle choice such that anyone who objects to it is a bigot to be shunned from society or is some kind of horrible life shattering event that transforms the person into a permanent victim and nothing in between. We just don’t say “well that sucks but get over it” about anything anymore.

      1. “get over it”?!

        Why do you hate the therapists and the grief counselors ? They have to eat, too you know.

      2. I would normally say sexting by teens should be some kind of misdemeanor, but seeing the freak-out impulses and where it might lead, I wonder if I should advocate even that.

        1. How can rationally think that sexting on the part of a minor should be a crime of any sort? The whole basis for stautory rape laws is that minors are unable to legally consent to sex or to posing nude. Sexting would necessarily have to be a specific intent crime. Surely you wouldn’t want to arrest a child who accidentally sent out a naked picture. Since minors can’t legally consent to posing nude, they necessarily can’t be guilty of a crime for doing so. You can’t be criminally liable for doing something the law says you are incapable of consenting to doing.

          It shouldn’t be a crime at all. Now, if you want to make it a crime for an adult to possess such a picture, that is a different debate.

          1. So all little Sally has to do to get her dad in trouble because he won’t buy her a car for her sweet sixteen is text him a pic of her masturbating.

            Gotcha.

        2. I would normally say sexting by teens should be some kind of misdemeanor, but seeing the freak-out impulses and where it might lead, I wonder if I should advocate even that.

          I would say, not worse than a misdemeanor for either party even without consent.

          I have trouble figuring out how you victimize someone using only your eyes, much less teach a less-than-fully-developed human being how not to.

          Maybe with some sort of heat vision or vision-based targeting system. Even then, if all you leave are eyeprints, I have trouble thinking you’re guilty.

      3. We just don’t say “well that sucks but get over it” about anything anymore.

        I certainly do.

        1. That is just because you are a monster who hates children sarcasmic.

          1. Ain’t that the truth. I love my kid, but hate all other children. Never liked them much, even when I was one.

            1. I am the same way. If I have kids, I am sure I will think they are great. Other people’s kids? Not so much. Though sometimes they are fun. Kids are all the same. Its the parents who are different and worse.

    3. I’d like to know more about the back story of this aspect of the story.

      Did she rat out the boy friend to the cop dad and he immediately showed up on boyfriend’s door step threatening to jail him?

      Were the school kids a bit put off maybe at the prospect of the boyfriend going on the sex offender list while the girl gets a pass because her dad is a cop?

  5. Given the current hysteria, I’m sure even “semi-nude” (whatever that means) photos can be child porn.

    If her cop dad ever arrested anyone for sexting, then he’s a dirtbag who is willing to deploy his double standard to fuck up people’s lives unless he decides not to.

    So, has his unit ever arrested anyone for sexting? If so, what’s their excuse for not arresting his daughter?

    1. If it gives a perv a chubby, then it’s porn.

      1. ummm rule 34.

        THE WORLD IS PRON!

    2. At least in PA it has to be “lewd exhibition of the genitals”. Yes, breasts count as genitals.

  6. I read an article once how music is blamed for teenage sexuality. If it’s not the frenetic beat of rock and roll, it’s the sultry sound of a Johnny Mathis. The point of course was that it’s not the music. Teens are horny.

  7. The worst part about this entire situation is that this story achieved a “top story” position on Reason.com.

    There are other things going on in the world.

  8. holy fuck, it’s not ironic, it’s coincidental.

    fucking shit. i bet you have a fucking degree in english or journalism.

    BUY A FUCKING DICTIONARY MORAN!

    😀

    -FFM

  9. Not for nothing, but vodka is not an erection drug. It just broadens the number of places and people you might willingly introduce said erection.

  10. “I hope she takes her story to law enforcement agencies next, to remind them that often teens make regrettable choices when it comes to sex.”

    Cops passing up pretenses for arresting people because they understand human nature better? Yeah, that’ll happen.

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