Pasadena City College’s “porn professor” won’t be demonstrating a threesome in front of his Navigating Porn class. Hugo Schwyzer, whose “sexts” with a porn actress were posted online — will go on leave to deal with his bipolar disorder.
More than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting — “sharing sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online” — according to an Associated Press-MTV poll. One third of young adults also say they’ve sent or received explicit photos.
. . . 14 percent said they suspect the pictures were shared without permission, and they may be right: Seventeen percent of those who received naked pictures said they passed them along to someone else, often to more than just one person.
Boys were more likely to say that sexting is “hot,” while most girls called it “slutty.” But they still do it.
Told to investigate “sexting” at his Virginia high school, an assistant principal spent $150,000 defending himself from child pornography charges because he kept the evidence — a photo of a semi-nude girl found on a boy’s cell phone — on his computer. Wired has the story:
Ting-Yi Oei, a 60-year-old assistant principal at Freedom High School in South Riding, Virginia was told to see if students were exchanging sexy photos on their cell phones. He found only one example: A boy showed him a photo of a topless girl with her arms folded in front of her breasts.
Oei says he showed the image to his boss, Principal Christine Forester, who told him to preserve a copy on his office computer for the investigation.
. . . Oei and the school security specialist interviewed more students, but were unable to find additional pictures or identify the girl in the photo.
When the boy who’d had the photo got in trouble for something else, his mother blamed Oei and called the police.
A month later, the first charges were filed against Oei: failure to report suspicion of child abuse, a misdemeanor. The charge alleged that Oei had a legal duty to report the girl’s photo to her parents, and to state agencies or law enforcement.
“First of all, nobody thought this was reportable,” Oei says. “Who would have thought this was suspected child abuse?”
Oei also hadn’t known the girl’s identity and therefore wasn’t able to notify her parents.
Loudoun County prosecutor James Plowman demanded that Oei resign. When the veteran educator refused, Plowman filed felony charges of child pornography, which could have put Oei in prison for five years and labeled him a sex offender for life.
Warned that their house could be searched, (Oei’s wife Diana) Curling went through the family photos to see if there were any baby pictures of their now-grown children in a state of undress. “Heaven forbid that a parent might think it was cute for a baby to play in a bubble bath and there might be an inappropriate part showing,” she says. “Luckily all of our rubber-ducky baby photos had the children covered in bath bubbles or something.”
After a year of hell, a judge threw out all the charges, saying the photo wasn’t pornographic. The prosecutor is unrepentant.
Threatened with child molesting charges for a bra-clad slumber-party photo of herself that showed up on a cellphone, a high school cheerleader refused to cop a plea. Along with two other girls, she’s filed suit against the overzealous prosecutor.
Marissa Miller and two other Tunkhannock, Pa., high school students say a prosecutor retaliated when they rejected his deal in a case over cellphone photos he called “provocative.”
. . . (The photo) showed Marissa and a friend from the waist up. Both were wearing bras.
(Prosecutor) Skumanick said he considered the photo “provocative” enough to tell Marissa and the friend, Grace Kelly, that if they did not attend a 10-hour class dealing with pornography and sexual violence, he was considering filing a charge of sexual abuse of a minor against both girls. If convicted, they could serve time in prison and would probably have to register as sex offenders.
Seventeen other students took the deal.
Criminalizing adolescent folly is nuts. Is there no sexual violence, abuse of minors or kiddie porn in Tunkhannock?
Meanwhile, in Britain, an 18-year-old boy painted an Iron Age fertility symbol with a 60-foot phallus on the new roof of his parents £1million house, reports the Daily Mail. He was hoping it would show up on Google Earth. No prosecution is planned. Just a new paint job.
“Sexting” teens are facing child pornography charges for sending and receiving naked photos, even if it’s a 14-year-old girl sending her own photo to her boyfriend. Surely, bringing felony sex charges against foolish adolescents isn’t the best way to protect them from their own folly, writes Dahlia Lithwick on Slate. These kids could end up on a sex offender registry.
. . . the great majority of these kids are not predators and have no intention of producing or purveying kiddie porn. They think they’re being brash and sexy, in the manner of brash, sexy Americans everywhere: by being undressed.
Online harassment poses a greater risk to teens than voluntary exposure, Lithwick writes.
Parents need to remind their teens that a dumb moment can last a lifetime in cyberspace. Judges and prosecutors need to understand that a lifetime of cyber-humiliation shouldn’t be grounds for a very real and possibly lifelong criminal record.
One in five teens admitted to “sexting” nude or semi-nude photos to a friend in a national survey.