Iowa’s Teenager “Sexting” Law Changing

Legislators are making another attempt to relax state laws for “sexting” between teenagers who are dating.

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Sherri Soich  says, for example, a teenage girl who sends a racy photo to her boyfriend could be charged with a felony today.

“Under the current law, it makes teenagers who are ‘sexting’ actually child pornographyers,” Soich says, “because under the definition of child pornography…if you produce a picture of a prohibited sex act involving a minor, then you are deemed a producer of child pornography.”

Iowa’s attorney general began asking legislators in 2010 to change these laws, to make most cases of “sexting” a misdemeanor. Eric Tabor, another assistant attorney general, says young people sometimes do dumb things.

“What we want to ensure here is that some youthful mistake like that does not turn into someone being convicted of a serious crime or being put on the sex offender registry forever,”

A bill that would make most cases of “sexting” a misdemeanor has cleared a senate committee. The bill would allow some “sexting” to be legal if the two parties are in a relationship and the text or photo or video is NOT sent to others, but once that content distributed beyond its original recipient, Soich says charges could be filed.

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