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article imageProposed sexting law is facing pushback in CO

By Owen Weldon     Mar 31, 2016 in Lifestyle
A proposed sexting law in Colorado is receiving pushback. Concerns about how to punish teens engaging in sexting are being raised.
The measure would downgrade the offense to a misdemeanor from a felony, but some people are worried that softer penalties can result in turning more teens into lawbreakers.
Under the new Colorado bill, the penalty for sexting will be reduced for an underage teen. If the bill is passed, it will be a class two misdemeanor for electronically distributing a sexually explicit image of themselves. This also goes for displaying, publishing or possessing a sexually explicit image of themselves or another juvenile.
Under the current law, teen sexting is still considered a felony, and teens can be convicted for child pornography. This means they have to register as a sex offender and they can have a record that follows them around for life.
Activists say that the proposed measure doesn't do enough to protect victims of sexting and it vilifies the consensual exchange of nude images. They also say the law is attempting to halt something that can't be stopped.
Amy Hasinoff, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Colorado Denver, said lawmakers and prosecutors think they can pass laws that discourage sexting, but that isn't how it works when it comes to teen sex. She added that even though teens know sexting is risky, they do it anyways, and adults know the risks too, but they also do it.
However, the proposed measure does allow some protections for juveniles. They will be able to defend themselves by proving they took reasonable steps to delete, destroy or to report any explicit images they received, and it was done in a timely manner.
If the bill is approved, it will go into effect July 1.
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