Question: My child received a text from a friend that contained a graphic picture of a partially nude teenage girl. Can he get in trouble for this?
Answer: Yes, he can get in trouble. This type of texting is where the term “sexting” comes from. There is no crime in Colorado called sexting. This type of conduct, however, can be a crime called Sexual Exploitation of a Child. It is a felony and is considered a “sex offense.” Just having the sexually explicit photo on the phone of someone under the age of 18 is a felony. It is also a felony to send the photo to anyone else.
That means that if an individual, including a juvenile, is convicted of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, the individual would most likely have to register as a sex offender and receive offense-specific counseling.
If anyone receives this type of text, the first thing he or she needs to do is delete the text without forwarding or replying to the text. The individual should then send a separate text message to whoever sent the text, telling that person to please never send this type of text to the individual ever again. Should there be any kind of investigation initiated, this procedure creates a record showing that the person who received the text did not forward the text to anyone and deleted it from his or her phone.
The Colorado Bar Association welcomes your questions on subjects of general interest. This column is meant to be used as general information. Consult your own attorney for specifics. Send questions to the CBA attn: Sara Crocker, 1900 Grant St., Suite 900, Denver, CO 80203 or email email@example.com.