Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott takes a hard line on teen “sexting”, and warns teens of felony charges and jail time.
Via the Texas Tribune, Abbott suggests jail time is a serious risk of prosecution for a felony offense of child pornography charges, even among consenting teens. Possession of explicit, nude or semi-nude pictures of your teen girlfriend is a huge risk.
If you are convicted of a sex offense in Texas, you will also face the prospect of ending up in a federal registry as a sex offender.
While sexting is not behavior that should be encouraged, most people can understand the difference between teenagers acting stupidly and adults exchanging underage pornography. Yet the law as written in Texas makes no such distinction.
One would hope that reasonable prosecutors would use discretion in these matters, but until the laws are reformed to reflect the reality that virtually every teen in America has 1) raging hormones, and 2) a cell phone with a camera, these kinds of cases can result in very serious criminal charges and life changing penalties.