Lawyer wants federal sexting law

April 1, 2009 at 11:52 PM

PITTSBURGH, April 1 (UPI) -- A New York lawyer is pushing for a federal law that would make it a misdemeanor for teenagers to send sexual pictures via cell phone.

Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, said current state laws are "too hot or too cold," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday. He said teens who engage in the practice known as "sexting" are either treated as if they were pedophiles or released with a slap on the wrist.

"You get a slap on the wrist ... or you go to jail and your life is ruined," Aftab said. "We need consistency."

In Pennsylvania, underage teens can be charged with child pornography for sending nude pictures of themselves or others. In practice, most teens end up facing less serious charges.

A federal judge in Scranton temporarily barred a prosecutor from filing pornography charges against three teenage girls who had sent pictures of themselves. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the teens.

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