The world we grew up in (Maine) is very different than the world we currently live in. Things that were impossible to achieve or imagine 30+ years ago are easily achievable and realistic with today's technology. We have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler and a whole host of other social media outlets for which to post our thoughts, victories, and yes, nude "selfies". This is an endemic issue that we generally only associate with celebrity follies, not children or teens.
There appears to be a national trend towards teenagers sending each other nude photos of each other or perhaps photos or videos of each other having sex. When your 15 year old girlfriend sends you a naked photo and you share it with a friend, you may find yourself explaining your actions to a local detective... for engaging in Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Now of course, many Maine high school seniors reach the age of 18 before graduation. Many of these same seniors are dating younger girls and if we're honest, having sex.
When you're over the age of 18 and you then share those pictures, you've committed a rather serious crime. A crime that can be prosecuted at both the federal and state level. While it's unlikely that a federal prosecutor will decide to charge an 18 year old kid with distribution of child pornography (unless the facts are especially egregious), it's highly likely that a state prosecutor will charge that 18 year old kid as an adult. And the charge is likely to be a felony.
In Penobscot County, District Attorney Christopher Almy is sending a message to young people, that sexting is a serious crime. Keenan Abbot, a local high school senior, who turned 18 in February, was charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Dissemination of Sexually Explicit Material and Possession of Sexually Explicit Material. The first two charges are felonies. Mr. Abbot, allegedly, a pornographic video from a 13-year old student, and then shared it with friends. He also texted the video to at least one other school buddy.
DA Almy is sending a message, a message that should perk up the ears of all Maine parents and their children. Sexting is a crime and one that could land you in prison for decades as well as require registration on Maine's Sexual Offender List. If your son or daughter is being investigated for a sex offense, especially one involving "sexting", call Attorney William T. Bly at 207-571-8146.