Bill targeting ‘sexting’ passes state Senate, heads to House for consideration
From press release
The Illinois Senate Criminal Law committee tackled the issue of “sexting” this past week.
“Sexting” is a growing social trend where explicit photos or videos are sent via cell phone or e-mail to someone else. The bill is aimed at people younger than 18, as sexting has become increasingly prevalent among young people in recent years.
Currently, there is little that could be done to address sexting aside from pursuing felony child pornography charges—which prosecutors are reluctant to do. Senate Bill 2513 seeks to create a middle ground.
Under the legislation, a minor who electronically sends an indecent image of themselves can be brought into juvenile court for a proceeding to determine if they are a minor in need of supervision. If the young person is found to be in need of supervision, he or she could be ordered into counseling or other supportive services. They may also be ordered to complete community service.
The bill also makes it a misdemeanor crime for any person, regardless of their age, to possess an explicit visual image transmitted to them by a minor. This controversial provision sparked concern that the creator and sender of the image could be found to have committed a lesser offense, while the person who received the unsolicited image would be guilty of a higher penalty. However, there would be no possession offense if the person receiving the image takes reasonable steps to eliminate the image within a reasonable time.
Questions were raised about whether the issue of sexting is a topic best dealt with by the parents and educators. There are also ways for a minor to get around the legislation simply by having friends take the picture and then having them send it to someone else. Nonetheless, the bill was passed unanimously through the Senate and now proceeds to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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