Ask Avvo: My teen sent nude photos to another teen. Is this a crime?

Crime, Rights

Teen “sexting” and sharing of nude photos bring up serious legal issues beyond privacy concerns and emotional distress.

Some questions posted to Avvo’s Q&A forum ask about situations involving nude photos shared between significant others, unsolicited photos received, or teens sharing photos with classmates or other unintended recipients.

For all of the various questions, attorney responses are clear: Any situation involving nude photos of a minor could result in criminal child pornography charges for everyone involved.

Read on for user questions and attorney answers. And if you are a teen or parent of a teen involved in a similar situation, you should find a lawyer immediately.

Can my daughter be expelled for sending nude photos to another teen?

Q: “My 14 year old daughter sent a boy a nude pic of her during the summer. He has sent these pics to numerous kids at the school. She has been called to the principle’s office. Can she be expelled?”

A: “Simple Answer: Yes, she could be expelled … Complicated Answer: Quite frankly expulsion form school is the least of your worries … There are very strict laws about the dissemination of underage photos that could get anyone that possesses and distributes these photos into serious trouble.

I would advise you to make every effort to have the photos destroyed to remove the possibility of having them distributed. Having this type of photo available online or otherwise could be very dangerous and emotionally disturbing to your daughter. This is a very serious matter and you may want to consult with your attorney and seek counseling for your daughter – asap!” – Georgia criminal defense attorney George McCraine

“I would caution you that [your daughter] is open to a possible charge of distributing child pornography. There is no exception in Georgia law says that it doesn’t count if it’s a picture of yourself. Prosecutors can get really overzealous with this type of thing, its happened before. They’re more likely to focus on the boy, but I would strongly recommend getting an attorney for your daughter be cause there is nothing stopping the DA from including her in a criminal prosecution.” – Georgia juvenile law attorney Charles Rollins

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I’m 18 and my underaged girlfriend sent me nude photos — Is that illegal?

Q: I am 18, a senior in high school, and I sent and received nude photos from my under aged girlfriend … I did not distribute these pictures, or tell anyone they even existed. My principal heard I had ‘inappropriate content’ on my iPad, and confiscated all of my electronic devices. I am currently serving a three day out of school suspension. What can be my legal consequences, if any?”

A: “This is extremely serious … generally speaking this may fall into several categories of child pornography, soliciting a child for illicit purposes, and similar sex-offender type felony crimes. Again, very serious stuff here. Strongly recommend you do not discuss this with anyone other than your new lawyer, which I recommend you hire as soon as possible.

Your devices will likely be turned over to the authorities, and charges may be drafted at any time. As an adult, you could face extremely serious consequences including felony conviction(s), sex offender registry, and prison. Good luck.” – Washington criminal defense attorney Ryan Sweet

“You are in serious, life altering trouble, way over your head. Here is the plan: First, speak to your parents today. Second, speak privately with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indiana County … not just any lawyer, you need an experienced criminal lawyer. Third, say nothing — and I mean nothing — to anyone else about this case. Not your best friend, not your girlfriend, not your Principal. No one. Do not post anything on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else.

When the police show up, and they will, do not speak to them. Politely and respectfully exercise your right to remain silent and refer all questions to your attorney. Good luck.” — Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Daniel Myshin

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