Should a Teen Who Forwards a Sext Land on Sex Offender Registry?

No, says the dad of the boy in question. Here’s fsbttkkbtr
the story
: Boy #1, age 14, had a girlfriend who sent him a nude picture of herself. Then he and the girl broke up and he, repulsively, forwarded the photo to kids at three other schools. It seems that some of the kids who got the photo passed it along again. Let’s call one of those kids Boy #2.

Along with a couple of others, Boy #2 is now facing sex offender charges. His dad believes his son should pay for his cruelty. He has taken away the son’s computer and cell phone service, which had been rewards for good grades and behavior. He also believes his son should do community service and even get charged with a misdemeanor or harassment. But he argues that placement on the sex offender registry means the boy’s future is “gone.” The article continues:

Deputy prosecuting attorney Rick Peters said those charges might sound harsh, but that’s the statute they have to use, “In this case do I think the requirements for the charge itself seem harsh to a layperson? I think it is because I don’t know that this particular type of situation was contemplated by the legislature when they drafted the legislation.”

Which is why we have to change the laws. I agree that sexting is serious — or what I mean is, it’s extremely serious when someone breaks the bonds of trust and makes a private photo public. But does it mean that a teen who did that — or even another teen who stupidly forwards a forward  —   should be placed on the sex offender registry, which is often for years, or even life? Is he really on par with a career predator?

No. And the more we dilute the registry with cads instead of actual criminals, the more we terrify neighborhoods even as we dilute our crime-fighting resources. The more time police  spend  monitoring teen sexters, the less time they have left to spend  monitoring monsters. In a way it’s parallel to drug offenses: I’d much rather the police crack down on drug peddlers and kingpins than on someone who smokes a joint.

I feel terrible for the girl in this case — outraged — and believe her tormentors deserve punishment. But their punishment should fit the crime of cruelty, not the crime of child rape or the crime of creating child pornography. As we twist the idea of the sex offender registry away from criminals who pose an immediate threat to the neighborhood toward anyone demeaning, or even thoughtless, I’m not sure we make anyone safer.  And we may ruin more young lives than we save. — Lenore


53 Responses to Should a Teen Who Forwards a Sext Land on Sex Offender Registry?

  1. Silver Fang February 9, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    What I don’t get is, for most of us, differentiating between teens who sex and child molesters is a no-brainer. Yet for the prosecutors and judges, there seems to be a major problem doing this. Who puts these clowns in power?

  2. Naomi Bishoprik February 9, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    It’s hard to think of a part of the American train which has not left the tracks, obliterating reason and decency in its path. Soon sexting teens will be compelled to live under bridges with the child molesters who the laws prevent from living in man-made structures. This will be for the good of the teens, of course.

  3. SKL February 9, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    OK, I’m a little confused. When I took juvenile law in law school, the basic message was, juvenile behavior isn’t treated as criminal behavior, unless the juvie is tried as an adult. A child is adjudicatd a delinquent and the “system” has until he is 21 to figure out how to reform him, regardless of what he did. None of it gets treated the same as if an adult did it. (Usually that means they get treated worse, but whatever, it’s not an adult crime.)

    So is the sex offender registry an exception to this? They certainly need to have different rules for kids and sex offenses. I’m not saying a kid can’t be a sex offender; some of them are full-fledged violent rapists, as we all know. But it seems likely that a high percentage of these offenses, when committed by juvies, are really in the category of “dumbass” stunts. Especially given that teens may not even know the law. I mean, when I was a teen, if I was dumb enough to give someone a nude photo of myself, every other student would say I was just asking for trouble; that I was the one in the wrong, no matter how far it circulated. (Which brings up the question: has the nude girl been added to the sex offender registry?)

    This reminds me of the game, “hot potato.” (Anyone else old enough to remember?) You get that thing into your hands and you feel you must hand it off to someone as quickly as possible. Doesn’t matter what it is – stolen property, a naked photo, whatever. Unless you’re the one who took the photo or you paid / got paid to transmit it, there’s probably no prurient interest; which, to me, means there is no sex offense.

  4. SKL February 9, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    On the other hand, this is a teaching opportunity for our kids. I sure hope I figure out how to convince my kids not to engage in such nonsense in the first place.

  5. Sam Caldwell February 9, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    Unfortunately many people do not realize the effect of these laws until they affect someone they know or love. A classic case is the tragedy of Mark Lundsford, whose daughter was raped and killed by a registered sex offender. Lundsford advocated for strong, harsh laws which swept the nation. However, when those same laws were almost applied to his son the perspective changed. Lundsford did not want to see his son’s future ruined either. Instead, Mark Lundsford threatened the prosecutors and wielded his considerable political power to allow HIS son to remain free of sex offender registration, though others in similar cases continue to be added to the registry daily.

  6. toyfoto February 9, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    I know this is off point, but as a photographer I’ve always been deeply concerned about what has been labeled “child porn.” It’s at a point now that the “children” are making the porn themselves and though they did it of their own free will their pictures … floating around in cyberspace … are fueling arrests for people who just look at it.

    So what’s the real crime? Someone actually abusing children, or the idea that some people look at children and think sexual thoughts?

    It has always seemed to me that abuse and not a provocative picture has to be the crime that is the primary focus of investigations.

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  8. James Gunter February 9, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Thanks for the great perspective. I wrote about this same case last week ( ), and for me putting people on sex offender registries has lost almost all meaning. Every time we put a teen “sexter” on the list it becomes even more meaningless. As you’ve suggested before, the only way to overcome the fear induced by sex offender registries is to actually talk to the people on the lists in your neighborhood. Find out what actually happened, what they were charged with, how long ago it happened, etc. To keep our families safe from the real predators, we have to know how to differentiate them from the kids who made stupid mistakes in high school.

  9. Margo February 9, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    I agree with you. There is a huge substantive difference between forwarding photos of similar age peers (albeit this is reprehensible behavior and must be dealt with very assertively) and being a predatory sex offender or a purchaser of images of child sexual abuse, rape and torture. (I object to the term child pornography because it implies some sort of voluntary or benign participation.)

    Not only is this not the way to deal with the teenagers, it also, as you point out, makes it more difficult to identify and deal effectively with the predators who are the intended focus of child abuser / sex offender legislation.

  10. Brian February 9, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    SKL, i’m not sure this will be a good teaching event. Kids don’t listen to things they don’t expect to happen to them. Look how many teens die in car accidents due to drinking and driving, not wearing seatbelts, etc every year.

    But the thing that gets me, is why prosecute the kid halfway through the forwarding chain? Why are they also not prosecuting the girl that sent it, and the boy who originally forwarded it, if the DA is really just “following the law”

  11. Amanda February 9, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    If one boy is going to be placed on the sex offender list, so should they all–to include the girl. In truth, I don’t believe that any of them belong there but I don’t see how any law could be applied to one and not the others. The girl is just as responsible for what happened as those boys.

    Am I the only one who wonders why it is necessary for kids this age to have camera-equipped cell phones? My oldest is 13 and I just don’t see myself handing over anything like that any time soon. We also don’t put computers in their bedrooms or allow them “private” e-mail accounts. Are they entitled privacy? Sure…of the sort that we had growing up. There is far too much trouble they can get into with today’s technology, as this story well illustrates.

  12. Ali February 9, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    The girl took a nude photo of herself and sent into the ether…..why isn’t SHE being charged with making child porn? To me it’s the same thing.

    No-one acted well in this case. But it shouldn’t have life long repercussions….other than learning that photos can and will be forwarded, and you can’t ever get them back.

  13. Joe February 9, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    The deputy prosecutor’s comments are very troubling. He says, I don’t like it but we have to do it. That is pure BS. In the our judicial systems, the prosecuting attorney has what is called “charging discretion” – he can charge this kid with whatever possible crimes that are supported by the facts or he could chose to bring no charges at all. The cops make a determination of whether they should arrest (sometimes there are mandatory arrest laws) and then the DA or States’ Attorney makes a decision about whether or what to charge. He looks like he is just trying to blame someone else for the very stupid decision he is making.

  14. Sky February 9, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    It’s nice to see the father of Boy#2 desires consquences for his boy’s actions and isn’t just excusing him. The consquences he suggests seem perfectly reasonable. A lifetime on the sex offender’s registry does not.

  15. Emily February 9, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Why be outraged for the girl? I think it’s gross but I don’t feel sorry for her. Part of giving kids freedom is letting them accept consequences and not coddle them when they make mistakes–and it was really stupid of her to take the picture in the first place let alone send it to anyone. The boys also clearly acted inappropriately, but I agree with above commenters that all involved share some responsibility. She, as photographer and original distributor, is not a victim. I guess I do feel sorry for her, but it’s more a sadness that she got herself into a nasty situation than a desire to protect her from the consequences. (And yes I’m sure I’ll feel differently if my kids are ever in such a situation, but I do believe that not helicoptering means accepting consequences too.)

  16. Jay February 9, 2010 at 2:38 am #

    Great point Amanda. It was the girl who took the photo in the first place. SHE created the child porn. If we are going to be draconian about the boys then in all “fairness” we must charge the girl too.

    How crazy does this have to get?

  17. Claudia Conway February 9, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    It’s using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, as usual.

    What the law seems to fail to distinguish between in these cases, evidently in the US as well as in the UK, is someone who society/children needs protection from and someone who they don’t need protection from. Eg – Man who sexually touches his six-year-old niece; society needs protection from. 20-year-old man who has consensual sex with a 14 year old he met at a club who told him she was 17; needs to be treated as youthful indiscretion with no permanent record. Woman who works in childcare and sends naked pictures of her charges to paedophile rings; she is a sex offender who children should be protected from. Teenage boy who is pissed off with his 15-year-old girlfriend and distributes naked pics he has of her in revenge; needs a good scaring by parents, school and authority figures. Girl needs a good talking to about why don’t send naked pics of yourself to boys, no matter how much you think you love them!

  18. Erica February 9, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    I completely agree with Amanda. Except I think I might allow a private email address, but only after consequences of this permanent medium are known and understood.

    I think the whole sex offender list is a bunch of crap. #1 if someone has served their time then they shouldn’t be black listed. If authorities believe them likely to offend they shouldn’t have been released in the first place. #2 I’ve heard of too many stories about teens having consensual sex and then after one turns 18 suddenly they’re a sex offender. It’s consensual sex!

  19. Elizabeth February 9, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    Totally unrelated, but I can’t find a way to send you a message:

  20. Cissy February 9, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    I can’t even cohesively talk about this subject because it dumbfounds me so much.

    She took the pics of herself, sent them off. Of the three people involved, her, boy 1 and boy 2. SHE is the one most to blame. I’m so irritated with the “girls are sweet and innocent, and we have to protect them from every male in existence” Stupid. This boy was wrong.. but who was the victim? The girl? Not hardly. She’s humiliated, and embarrassed but in my opinion, she brought that on herself. None of the young people in this situation should be brought up on charges. And CERTAINLY they shouldn’t be on a sex offender registry for the rest of their lives, or even for however many years.
    The sex offender registry has gotten completely out of hand. COMPLETELY out of hand. I think if this is how it has to be, then we will all be better off without one at all.

  21. Sarah Marriott February 9, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    Not to diminish in any way the repulsiveness of these boys behavior, or the fact that the young lady in question should really have thought twice before taking compromising pictures of herself in an age where one of the most popular (and unfortunate) uses of youtube and facebook is amusement at the expense of other people, but I have one more little life lesson here. Why is there this ridiculous and overwhelming need to give every adolescent a cellphone? People I have spoken to who are in favor seem to think it is an electronic tether for their children. It doesn’t seem to be keeping anyone out of trouble. They are a problem on the road, a problem in school, and I could go on.

    I did not have cell phone as a teenager and do not feel remotely compelled to buy any for my four children who are rapidly approaching their teens. They can borrow mine for road trips.

  22. Phil February 9, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    There was another case like this where the police couldn’t decide if the girl who look pix of herself and sent them to others was a child porn victim or perp.

    Plus is a photo of a nude body automatically pornographic?

    Just high-tech “show me yours, I’ll show you mine”.

  23. Stephanie February 9, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    Putting him on the sex offender list is ridiculous. Punish him, yes, punish the boy who forwarded it to him, yes, punish the girl who took the picture, yes. But not one should be registered as a sex offender. It’s a young and dumb mistake.

    Cell phones can be a tricky creature as I understand it. My oldest is just 7, so I’m not being pressured too hard by her yet for one. She does envy the one classmate who has one already but I explained why she doesn’t need one.

    Getting one without a camera these days takes some doing from what little I’ve seen. They’re included in so many models. And if the child has access to a digital camera and an email account they can send inappropriate pictures anyhow with little more difficulty. Better to teach why you don’t take naked pictures of yourself.

  24. Anon February 9, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    I find this discussion very timely because I am right now in the middle of trying to find out more about a registered sex offender who attends my church. Recognizing that there are a variety of things that could have landed him on the sex offender registry, I don’t know for sure what to do with the information that he is on the list. What I am doing is going after public records of the conviction that landed him on the list.

    But, the frustration is that I have to do all this extra research. His name popped up on the list as I was searching one day and I have no interest in making this guy’s life more difficult than it should be by spreading the news to everyone. So, all I really got from his name on the list is a notification to do more research.

    Yes, I could talk to him directly (as Lenore has suggested in other posts), but that is a little problematic for other reasons.

    So, let’s find some new laws for these teens doing dumb stuff.

  25. John Hritz February 9, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    The proper charge in my view is against boy #1 for slander (defamation). He knowingly forwarded a private photo. In the old days a fiance would ask for her love letters back when the engagement was cancelled. I’m skeptical that children get charged with defamation, but that’s what a lot of cyber-bullying amounts to.

  26. Ben February 9, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    That title was a rethoric question right? Unless they actually commited a sex act without the consent of the other party, they’re not a sex offender “worthy” of listing on the registry.

  27. pinkhairedloli February 9, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    When I read this headline, I can’t help but imagine “Sext Land” as a rejected theme park concept. The kind that would have auto-photos on the “Tunnel of Love” ride. ^_-

  28. bequirox February 9, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Ben, you’re absolutely right.

  29. Dragonwolf February 9, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    Ben, unfortunately, the current state of sex offense law doesn’t work that way. Technically speaking, the girl is guilty of making and distributing child pornography, even though she took the pictures of herself.

  30. Jacqui February 9, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    “The more time police spend monitoring teen sexters, the less time they have left to spend monitoring monsters.”

    If we abandon our own moral compasses in favor of the letter of the law, then we are victims and not creators.

  31. Fengru February 9, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    I’m a little surprised by how much blame is being put on the girl who took the photo in the first place in this conversation. Obviously she’s not blameless, but I think, within the context of how teenagers see their sexual behaviors, what she did is the equivalent of making out with her boyfriend. I’m not saying that’s right, but I think that what she did has become a common act of sexual intimacy among teenagers.

    On the other hand, what her boyfriend did, by sending the photo to his friends, is like writing something about a girl being easy on the boys’ bathroom wall. Who is more to blame in this situation? The girl because she fooled around or the boy because he broadcast it to the world in the crudest manner possible? There’s a part of me that worries that blaming the girl in this situation is an extension of the sort of sexist attitudes that placed the onus of chastity on girls back in the day. While she participated in this, she is also the victim and I am uncomfortable with the blame the victim mentality. She made a huge mistake by trusting her body to a boy who betrayed that trust.

    It’s just very complicated. I think my analogy represents more or less how kids see their own behavior, but there are a lot of problems with their casual view of sexting. A digital photo that can be uploaded and sent around the world in a matter of seconds is very different in legality and scope than an old-fashioned “slut” rumor or bathroom wall graffiti item. But I think that as adults, in order to help solve the problem, we have to appreciate how completely “normalized” this is in many teen circles as a stage of intimacy in a young relationship. As well, we have to understand the thrill they get out of it – just like “going to second base.” I think every one of the kids should suffer consequences of their actions so that they can learn from what happened, I just wonder if the girl hasn’t faced the worst consequences already.

  32. Alida February 9, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    We should be using the word “CAD” more often. Perfectly describes these young men. Great post…as always.

  33. good job Amanda!!

  34. okey okey..and what next time?!

  35. Donna February 9, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    @ SKL

    The laws pertaining to the registry of juvenile sex offenders vary by state. Currently, my state doesn’t require juveniles to register unless they are convicted as an adult.

    However, in 2006 Bush signed into law the Adam Walsh Act. It provides national standards for sex offender registries. One of the provisions requires the registration of juveniles adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court of certain sex offenses. Under the law, all states were to enact Adam Walsh by 2009 – there are a number of grants for doing so and loss of funding for not doing so. However, to my knowledge all states have asked for extensions of time due to many issues (juvenile registry being one) and no state has actually enacted Adam Walsh at this time. Unless the law gets repealed at the federal level, it may come eventually and juveniles will then be required to register in every state.

  36. Floyd Stearns February 9, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    All these kids made bad choices, but none of them should be sentenced to the “Registry”.

    Apparently, the girl started the ball rolling. Had there been no picture, this would never have happened.

    By now, I would assume they all knew they screwed up. Hopefully they and many others have learned from it.

  37. erica February 9, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I am so glad someone mentioned that the girl took the picture in the first place. I know at that age you don’t think someone you love will betray you like that, even if it was done to a friend or by a friend. They’re kids. All of them. She obviously needs to feel loved and felt the only way she could get that or hang on to it was to “act like a grown up” and take naked pictures of herself. The girl needs counseling. And not for nothing, the 14 year old boys acted in an age-appropriate manner. I don’t agree with it, but sex and the naked body is silly to them. I’m sure there wasn’t any real malicious intent. It seems more so the “ha, ha, here’s my naked ex…” Not that it makes it okay at all, but seriously, what 14-year-old boy wouldn’t forward it? What’s surprising is that he actually waited until they broke up before he showed it to anyone.

  38. Mike February 9, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Sexting is becoming a political crime. For a prosecutor, more convictions = higher office. Plus, he can then say “I convicted (number) of sexual predators, keeping YOUR family safe! So vote for me!” (No mention that the “sexual predators” were just teens sending self-pics.)

    If a prosecutor passes on charging sexting, his political opponents will immediately charge him with being soft on child rapists. (This is politics, not truth.)

  39. SKL February 9, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I need to stop reading these comments or I’m afraid I’ll be kicked out of the free-range-moms club before my kids reach middle school. I keep picturing myself cutting off all electricity, phones, and internet, and locking my daughters in a windowless room from age 11-18. Normal to take nude pictures and forward them? As an aspect of their intimacy at age 14? Lord help us all.

  40. tracey February 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Dude. THE GIRL SENT THE PICTURE. That is so wrong that the boys are the ones who are paying the price alone.

    I hope that these laws become more intelligent in the next few years when my own kids will come into the texting/cell phone age…

  41. Kelly February 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    “Obviously she’s not blameless, but I think, within the context of how teenagers see their sexual behaviors, what she did is the equivalent of making out with her boyfriend. I’m not saying that’s right, but I think that what she did has become a common act of sexual intimacy among teenagers.

    On the other hand, what her boyfriend did, by sending the photo to his friends, is like writing something about a girl being easy on the boys’ bathroom wall.”

    I think Fengru has an excellent point. And is it any surprise? Look at Hollywood: just about every celebrity has a sex tape somewhere and is just waiting to publish it for the cash and publicity. As technology gets more advanced and widespread, we go from writing in permanent marker on the bathroom wall to sexting. I hate to think what lies ahead in 15 years when my daughter is in high school!

    As for the kids involved in this bruhaha, they all need to be punished and reprimanded for their part accordingly, but being on the registry is not necessary. They’re only a threat to themselves right now.

  42. NJMom February 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    I have already started talking to my children (10,11) about what NOT to do with a cell phone and what the internet really means (Ok, just picture yourself in the cafeteria and you are standing on a lunch table shouting about whatever…that’s the internet. Someone–everyone? is going to hear you.)

    So I think much–all–of this issue is about fear of the “technology”. The current generation of adults did not grow up with cell phones and the internet. And they are freaking out about it… Children explore sexuality in different ways. Didn’t everyone draw naked people/body parts back in the day? Well, we all know someone who did. 🙂 And pass them around? Maybe? And sneakily check out playboy?

    What the girl did was silly. What the boys did was VERY unkind and there must be consequences. The authorities in this situation are overreacting because of the technology. I hope very much that the dad continues to take a stand and wins this case.

  43. Robin February 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    It does bring up another free-range issue though. I never would have done such a thing as a teenager, because my parents taught me to protect myself, and giving people nude pictures is not protecting yourself. We all remember this girl from our school years. And these boys. . .

    That said, it’s not useful to put any of these kids on the registry. But, if I recall correctly, in some areas you can end up on there for public urination. Goodness knows that we can’t have anyone who pees outside living near a chuch!

  44. runwolf February 10, 2010 at 12:34 am #

    This is all interesting and teaching kids NOT to do it is a good idea, but is probably like teaching kinds NOT to have sex. A good idea, but one that will not work for some kids. Kids will have sex. Kids will send naughty pictures.

    So a far more useful tool for the kids would be what to do when they receive one of these pictures. Do they just delete it? Does that protect them, criminally? Does that protect them emotionally?

    It may be, as suggested, part of teenage romance now. So teaching them how to do it safely as opposed to dangerously is probably better than teaching them not to do it.

    I’m not suggesting we teach teenage girls the “proper” way to take dirty pictures of themselves. But I am suggesting that we teach them not to lose control of their pictures, any picture, that can come back to haunt them later.

    To me, this is no different than posting pictures of yourself on your facebook page that offend others. We’ve had cases of teachers being fired for holding a pint of beer at the brewery they visited. You’ve got to think about what kind of picture you’re using… and the implications of it… before you post/send/forward.

    And it isn’t always deliberate. We’ve all seen pictures on failblog or other sites where the person taking the picture had no intention of it being as provocative as it turned out to be. A picture of a newborn that inadvertently gets an exposed mother. A teenager wanting advice or opinion on their makeup before going out, that inadvertently shows something unexpected in the mirror behind them. One girl taking a picture of another in her ball gown… and the picture take not dressed yet and inadvertently seen in the reflective countertop. That’s just a few I’ve seen. But instead of looking at the pictures and understanding what they are seeing, the picture is sent off and out of their control before they know whats REALLY in the picture.

    So I’d love to see some attention on what to do once the picture is taken so that these kinds of situation can be prevented, instead of just bemoaning the fact that these pictures exist. What do I teach my son when he receives one? What do I teach my daughter? And if they bring it to me, am I now a sexual predator too?

    I remember in High School, we weren’t allowed to bring in cameras except for special occasions. Now, every teen has one built into some device or another. Laptops, cellphones, video games… seems a camera really is everywhere now.

  45. Robin February 10, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    Sarah Marriot – I’m with you. My kids, 12 and 15, do not have phones. I’ve tried to explain to other parents that with a cell phone you have no idea where they are. Without one, if I need them I need to know who’s house they’re at. At this age, they’re at school, at home or at a friend’s house. God help them if they’re not where they’re supposed to be!

  46. Scott February 10, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    Yep. The sex predator list is already diluted to the point of being meaningless.

    When I saw the insane clip where you got interrogated by the psychotic paranoid Dr. Phil and he pulled up a giant map of all the 367 sex predators within 1 mile of the route your child took when walking home, the first thought I had was that at least 320 of them were 17 yr olds that had an “underage” 16 yr old girlfriend and half the rest were probably guilty of taking photos of their children taking their first bath or breastfeeding and then using WalMart to develop the photos.

  47. Babs February 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Another thing I’ve noticed with the sex offender registry, while not related to this particular issue, is that some listings for the same person may show up multiple times, esp. if they have other aliases or have changed addresses. Apparently I have one registered person in my vicinity, but with the way he’s listed, you’d think there were multiple offenders. So I take the list with a very LARGE grain of salt.

    Which leads me to the issue at hand: while what these kids did does fall into the realm of ‘dumb things teens do’ (both the girl who took the pic, her ex, and the other boys forwarding it), being branded a ‘sex offender’ is a bit too much. (The analogy of ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut’ is appropriate).

    I think that parents, while not totally micromanaging their kids, should take the standard commonsense precautions: keep the computer in a common area; allow their teens to join Facebook if they ‘friend’ their mom or dad; and, most importantly, teach their kids to never put anything in writing or in pictures that they may regret afterwards. (This lesson was learned by me, pre-technology days, when I had a love letter that I was going to send to a guy pal I had a crush on in eighth grade, but was afraid to do so. After sharing the letter with a so-called best friend, it wound up getting into the hands of that boy, who was not pleased to get it from me, and turned cold towards me. Nothing life-threatening, but still humbling!)

  48. Lafe February 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    Let’s take sex and porn and nudity out of this discussion for a moment. They are lenses that are distorting the sense and reason of many. (Nudity is not porn, btw. Geez.)

    Anyway, how much sense does this make? (Sarcasm tag.) We need a registry for anyone who has committed a crime involving money. Everyone who has shoplifted a candybar or embezzled $12 million goes on this list. Even if they have served their time and paid it all back, they stay on the list. Employers don’t hire anyone on this list, because who wants to be robbed? No one wants to live near those on the list, because who wants to be robbed?

    Then, to get more tough on these people, let’s put them on the list if they even LOOK at money or property someone else stole. Or if they THOUGHT about stealing but didn’t do it. Just to keep everyone safe.

    Then, to keep our kids off of this bloated list, we’ll decide to keep them away from all finance-related technology – computers, ATMs, cash registers, cell phones that allow iTunes transactions . . .

    Isn’t it beyond ridiculous when you look at it that way? Why do we allow such a list for “sex offenders”, especially when so many on the list are not?

    It’s a sign of a sick, paranoid, unreasonable, self-destructive society.

  49. Peter Brülls February 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    @Stephanie getting a camera-less cell phone is easy. Just take one that has a camera and put a few drops of superglue in the lens. Presto, cameraless phone.

    And yes, I’m serious.

  50. helenquine February 11, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    The girls was stupid and she seems to be playing with fire, probably in more than just the picture taking. Her actions were wrong but only really in the sense of it being dumb to put yourself at risk. Her intentions were not malevolent as the boys’ (especially her boyfriend) were in forwarding the picture. So I’m a bit taken aback by some of the comments that seem to put the same sort of blame on her as on the boys. Her punishment comes in the form of consequences here – I bet she won’t be doing it again any time soon.

    Regardless, sex offender registry? Yet another reason why those lists do more harm than good. Even if the buy ends up not being put on it, the fact the dad has had to focus so hard on that means he hasn’t been able to focus on getting his kid to understand the actual significance of what he’s done.

  51. Scott February 11, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    Off topic, but @ Babs, regarding “The analogy of ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut’ is appropriate”; it’s interesting because we use a sledgehammer to crack our black walnuts. Sledgehammers are definitely the best way to go, black walnuts are very difficult to crack otherwise.

  52. Sex Offender Search February 12, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    The registry is important, but I think it needs to move to a national system. State by state is too inconsistent. Information will cross state boundaries so sex offender registry regulation should as well.

  53. Kenia Harrow March 2, 2010 at 3:35 am #

    Hey nice post! Found this on bing – good to find someone thinking the same.