Sexting

Two Long Island 14-Year-Olds Charged With Felonies for Producing and Sharing a Video Showing One Them Having Sex With a Girl

Twenty other students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones.

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WNYW

In today's column about the recent "sexting scandal" in Cañon City, Colorado, I note that 17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons. One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart. In such cases, the "offenders" can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour "education reform program" that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying. Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl.

WNYW, the Fox station in New York City, reports that the two boys who were arrested are both 14. It does not give the girl's age, saying only that she was "underage," which could mean she was younger than 18, the legal cutoff for so-called child pornography, or younger than 17, the age of consent in New York. Even a teenager younger than 17 can legally have consensual sex in New York as long as her partner is no more than four years older and she is at least 13. But no one, including the girl herself, can legally record the encounter or let others see the video.

Gothamist reports that the boys, who shared the video with other students at Kings Park High School, were each charged with two Class D felonies (which are punishable by up to seven years in prison, although probation is also possible): disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child. The former offense includes sharing any sexual material deemed "harmful to minors" with anyone younger than 18. The latter offense defines child as anyone younger than 17. In neither case would it matter whether the girl agreed to appear in the video or agreed to share it with others. But if the recording was made without her knowledge or shared without her consent, that could help explain why police decided felony charges were appropriate. In any event, it looks like videos may not be covered by New York's escape clause for adolescent sexting, which refers to "exhibition or distribution of a photograph."

In addition to the two boy who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones. Their parents complain that the punishment is indiscriminate and unfair, since the students who were sent copies of the video did not necessarily ask for them or agree to receive them. School officials say opening the message with the video was enough to make the students culpable. According to WNYW, "some parents said they would defy the suspensions and send their children to school."

[Thanks to CharlesWT for the tip.]

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  1. School officials says opening the message with the video was enough to make the students culpable.

    That’s a dangerous stance to take for administrators who no doubt themselves have email accounts.

    1. They wiped their email accounts with a cloth. Nothing else happened.

    2. ‘tid be a shame if somebody were to send them videos of questionable legality. I’d never suggest anyone do that. Because it would be a shame.

    3. Hey buddy,

      Please check the attached spreadsheet for mistakes before I submit it to management.

      Thanks a million

      /keyboardlogger.xls.exe

  2. Between this and Colorado, how many cops have spilled gallons of semen while “examining the evidence”?

    1. You’re saying those loafers aren’t spit shined?

      1. Spit. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket.

    2. !This. I’m sure hours have been spent “reviewing” these 10 seconds. Probably had to break it down frame-by-frame.

  3. Seven years (max) for a ten-second video? Yes, having sex with an underage girl–and filming it–is a serious offense, but seven years? That’s likely more than the kid would get for murdering the poor girl. This War on Sex is a bit extreme.

    1. I’ve had that same conversation. “OK, she’s 8, but 8 these days is like 18 when I was a kid.”

      1. You stay out of this…

        1. That’s what SHE said.

      2. It’s the high dairy diet…

    2. In this situation its more like getting seven years for filming yourself having sex, which shouldn’t be a crime at all.

    3. Seven years (max) for a ten-second video? Yes, having sex with an underage girl–and filming it–is a serious offense

      The person she had sex with was the same age as her, so no it’s not a serious offense.

      1. I have a hard time seeing how it should be any kind of offense, unless the girl didn’t consent to having the video distributed.

    4. I have a few questions: Isn’t it illegal to have sex with someone underage, because that underage person is legally considered not competent to give consent, no matter how enthusiastically he or she might join in or even initiate the transaction? The boys charged are 14, which I would suspect is considered legally underage; and so are not they themselves legally incompetent to give consent? No one has said anything about rape or molesting some prepubescent and so if the boys are charged, why not the girl?

      And finally, what if two boys of 14 or whatever underage sent around a selfie film of themselves having at it in a not-that-there’s-anything-wrong-with-that way? Who would the authorities charge?

      Are girls considered incompetent, as far as sexual consent and other matters, for longer than boys? (Say until menopause?)

      1. Also,

        Even a teenager younger than 17 can legally have consensual sex in New York as long as her partner is no more than four years older and she is at least 13.

        So if a 16 year old has a 3-way with a 20 year old and a 21 year old, only one of them goes to jail?

  4. undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying

    OK, I keep hearing that the kids these days enjoy widespread sharing of nudies and self-pornos – although for the life of me I don’t get it – but really all you need to say to them is “assume that everything you do online is visible to everyone, everywhere” and I bet that would get some of them to reconsider.

    1. Sure, but where are the opportunities for kickbacks and graft if you do that?

  5. a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl.

    That’s 9-seconds longer than I’d have lasted at that age.

  6. meanwhile some stupid court demands that a boy with ful normal “equipment” MUST be allowed to undress and shower in the same room with girls… almost all of whom are “underage” per NY law.
    Does anyone think the kids don’t comprehend the hipocrisy and double standards involved?

  7. As if the judicial system lacks real criminals to deal with, some of whom hold or held public office.

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