Updated September 2017 On September 14, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in State v.EG that a minor can be charged with distribution of child pornography for taking and sending a picture of their intimate areas to another person.
This is not what child pornography laws were meant for, and the time has come to address the issue rationally and reasonably, before it is too late.
In Florida, a 16-year-old girl and her 17-year-old boyfriend were both convicted under child pornography laws after taking intimate nude photos of themselves.
Closer to home, Thurston County prosecutors initially charged 13- and 14-year-olds with felony distribution of child pornography after a sexting incident in a Lacey middle school. In May 2017, the Washington Supreme Court heard argument in a case that challenges whether a minor can be prosecuted under child pornography laws for taking and sending a picture of himself.
The court ruled that the statutory language allowed the charges, and deferred to the way the Legislature has written the law.
Unfortunately, this means that, unless the Legislature amends the statute, any minor involved in sexting continues to be at risk of felony charges.