Free-Range Kids

Cop Says Kids Who Take Nude Selfies Are Sex Criminals, Not Victims

The sex offender registry is not an appropriate punishment.



The latest sexting scandal comes to us from Peters Middle School outside of Pittsburgh, where police are examining kids' cell phones for nude photos.

Why? Seriously: Why? It sounds like a giant swath of middle school kids and teens have naked pictures of themselves and others on their phones. Naked selfies are a bad idea, to be sure, but why on earth should the police should the police be investigating or prosecuting them?

 Peters Police Chief Harry Fruch certainly isn't shedding much light on the matter:

"If the photograph was taken by the individual, male or female between the ages of 12 and under 18, she's as much a guilty party as the person who received it. She is not a victim in this case or he is not a victim," he said.

But if there is no victim, why prosecute the matter in the first place? Why ruin these kids' lives by placing them on the sex offender registry (as is often the punishment in cases like this)?

I have no idea if the authorities will go in that awful direction. But the fact that other young people have been prosecuted for the same behavior just means that everyone who has sent naked pictures is in danger—not just because the pictures are embarrassing, but because the cops consider them child pornography.

It would be nice to see state legislators make the decision to protect their children and grandchildren from the true threat—criminal prosecution—by repealing such ridiculous laws. Kids who send selfies should be punished by their parents, not the police.