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Bill would lower teen 'sexting' penalties

March 19, 2010 at 8:11 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., March 19 (UPI) -- The Illinois Senate has approved a bill lessening penalties for teens who use computers or cell phones to share nude photos, the sponsor says.

Under the measure, students under 18 caught "sexting" would be given juvenile court supervision instead of facing criminal charges, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the bill, said its purpose is to educate not punish.

"Sometimes these kids don't understand what they're doing, make a mistake and it follows them for life," Silverstein said. "So we don't want that in their record."

A similar bill passed the Illinois House last week, so legislation calling for lesser penalties is likely to land on the governor's desk.

In December, an honor student at Plainfield East High School sent a nude photo of himself to a classmate, who then forwarded it to several friends, prompting a police investigation.

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