Bill would criminalize some sexting

HARRISBURG – The state Senate’s Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would make it a crime for a minor to electronically transmit sexually explicit images of another minor with the intent to harass the person depicted in the image

Senate Bill 850, which was presented to committee Tuesday by state Sen. Stuart Greenleaf, R-Willow Grove, would modify the crimes code to create the offense of “cyber bullying and sexting by minors,” which would be classified as a third-degree misdemeanor.

Greenleaf’s bill would target only those minors who utilize images to intentionally harm another person, which clearly constitutes a crime, Levick said.

“It does not penalize children for engaging in what is often stupid, reckless, adolescent behavior, but focuses on harm, which is what our criminal justice system is designed to address,” Levick said.

The Greenleaf bill specifically makes it illegal for a minor to transmit an image of another minor in a state of nudity with the intent to “coerce, intimidate, torment, harass or otherwise cause emotional distress to the other minor.” The transmission must have been done without the minor’s knowledge or his or her consent.

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