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Teenager Listed as Sex Offender for E-mailing Nude Photos

By Carol Forsloff     Mar 8, 2009 in Crime
Kids just might want to have fun, but if that fun turns out to get you listed as a sex offender perhaps you might want to stop the practice. One young man is now named as a sex offender, a label that creates serious problems for folks.
Phillip Alpert and his girlfriend had broken up. After his girlfriend taunted him, he decided to get back at her by sending nude photos that she had e-mailed to him to more than 70 people, including her close relatives and friends. Three days later he got a charge of transmitting child pornography and is now listed as a sex offender, a label he will need to have until he is at least 43 years of age. He was 18 when he sent the photos, and his girlfriend was 16.
20 percent of teens are involved in “sexting” which is sending nude or seminude photos of themselves across the Internet. What they may not realize is that this can bring serious consequences, including being kicked off sports teams, having trouble getting a job, going to jail or being listed as a sex offender which can cause problems with housing and all sorts of other difficulties.
Some attorneys like Lawrence Walters of Orlando who specializes in First Amendment and Internet Law is concerned that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. That's because teens are immature and following a trend. On the other hand, the problem has had serious consequences.
“Sexting” is now considered a crime in a number of jurisdictions, despite what Walters has said about it. A Pennsylvania report spells out how serious the problem can be, offering information about resources for legal help if someone is charged with child pornography, which is the usual definition for the offense. This is what the report states about the law and “sexting”
Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” It is illegal in all 50 States and carries serious legal penalties.
Although certain groups and individuals maintain that sex offender laws have gone too far, the consequences of being listed as a sex offender are problematic for sure. For one thing sex offenders are among the most hated in the community of crime, including the prisons, especially if the crime involved someone under age as the victim. There are restrictions concerning where one can live or work, including not being able to be near areas where underage individuals may be working or playing. Once put on the list, the offender has to remain on it for at least ten years. Registries are open to the public after the adoption and amendment in 1996 of Megan's Law, a law named after a child abducted and killed. Sexual offenders are especially handicapped for integration into society because the community has access to their records, and that community includes potential employers, colleges and universities, special agencies and the police.
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