Lawmaker crafting bill to set penalty for teens’ ‘sexting’

As ever-more-aggressive high school flirting clashes with evolving technology, Ohio lawmakers are searching for the appropriate way to deal with the growing trend of teenagers transmitting nude pictures of themselves via electronic devices, reports the Columbus Dispatch. One in five teens has sent or posted nude or seminude photos of themselves, known as "sexting," according to a recent study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Pictures are often transmitted via cell phones, eMail messages, or web postings, and they can spread quickly. The issue has caught the attention of at least one Ohio lawmaker who is worried that teens could run into harsh criminal penalties for sending or receiving such pictures. State Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, said he will soon introduce a bill making the creation, exchange, and possession of nude materials between minors a first-degree misdemeanor. "Local prosecutors have brought to my attention that under current Ohio law these teens could be charged with a felony and classified as sex offenders," Maag said. "There is concern that this may not be appropriate for these minors."

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