Two Fairfax County, Virginia, boys were recently found guilty of a juvenile crime of taking and sending cellphone videos of themselves engaging in sexual conduct with girls. This behavior, sometimes called sexting, is increasingly widespread among many young people, some of whom don’t realize that it is considered criminal conduct under the law when the pictures depict minors in sexual contexts, and that they may be responsible for creating and distributing child pornography, even if it is only pictures or videos of themselves in the nude.
The court convicted them of felonies and ordered them to serve 30-day suspended sentences as well as do community service for 100 hours. The judge did say that he might reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor, provided that the defendants create a civic project for the benefit of the community.
The two youths had pled no contest to the charges as well as testifying against a third teen boy also accused of similar conduct, who was sentenced to three days of incarceration in juvenile detention a day earlier than their sentencing. Very serious child pornography charges originally lodged against all three youths were reduced to unlawfully taking videos of minors without consent.
The three boys were all students at West Springfield High School in 2012, when they made a total of six sexual videos, without asking the permission of the teen girls involved. They then circulated all the videos among each other.
As the case illustrates, teens may not realize the potentially extremely serious consequences of taking pictures or videos involving minors in a sexual context, which today’s cell phone cameras make it very easy to do. When such charges are filed against a minor, it is important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney involved at the earliest possible time, so that the charges can either be defeated or mitigated.
Source: The Washington Post, “In Fairfax sexting case, 2 teenage boys found guilty on felony charges” T. Rees Shapiro and Justin Jouvenal, Jun. 13, 2013