Lawmakers review bill to change teen 'sexting' penalties - KPTV - FOX 12

Lawmakers review bill to change teen 'sexting' penalties

Posted: Updated: March 27, 2013 10:44 PM
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

Oregon lawmakers are taking a look at a new bill that would change the way teens are punished for sending graphic photos or videos.

Right now, so-called "sexting" can land a teen behind bars for just less than six years and force them to register as a sex offender.

As the law stands, the punishment for a minor who takes sexually explicit pictures of child is the same as an adult.

And that charge could stem from a sexually explicit text message.

Supporters of Senate Bill 68 say that's too harsh.

Oregon lawmakers heard public testimony on the bill Wednesday.

The bill would allow a judge to use discretion when sentencing teens charged with sexting by eliminating the mandatory sentencing law, and along with it, the requirement for a convicted teen to register as a sex offender.

But Multnomah County prosecutors argue there's no need to change the law.

They say since 2006, they have yet to charge any teen with the measure 11 offense for teen sexting.

Prosecutors also say, as the bill is currently written, it would also prevent minors who share sexually explicit photos of children from being charged.

The bill has not been scheduled for another work session. If the senate committee wants to move ahead with the bill, it will be up to the chair to decide when to schedule it.

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