A proposed law in New Jersey that has some serious positive implications for teens convicted of sexting related offenses took another step forward this week. The bill is designed to bring Megan’s Law, the state’s statute that deals with convicted sex offenders, up to date with what is going on in today’s society.
Under the existing statute, anyone convicted of a sex crime is required to add their name and other personal details to the state’s sex offender registry. Under the proposed law, according to an article at nj.com:
The bill (A3886), which was approved 9-0 by the lower house’s Appropriations Committee, would also clarify that a juvenile caught “sexting” with a cell phone – sending racy pictures of other minors that were taken with their consent – would not have to register as a sex offender.
There is no doubt that sexting by underage cellphone users is risky and should be avoided. That being said, to is equally clear that putting a teen convicted of sexting on the same list, and subject to the same onerous conditions as someone convicted of rape is unjust.
The bill has already been passed by the New Jersey Senate and now goes to the full Assembly for vote. Since the Assembly committee overwhelmingly advanced it, the chances look good that it will become law, in which case NJ should be commended for eliminating an unintended consequence for teens guilty of a sexting transgression.
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