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Counseling urged for teen 'sexting'

June 6, 2011 at 2:26 PM

ALBANY, N.Y., June 6 (UPI) -- New York lawmakers are proposing mandatory education instead of prosecution for "sexting" teenagers who transmit obscene images.

The Cyber Crime Youth Rescue Act, introduced Friday, would give prosecutors and judges more latitude on minors who distribute naked and sexually explicit pictures of themselves or others via cellphones, e-mail and social-networking sites, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Similar measures have been introduced or passed in other states to spare young people lifetime branding as child pornographers or sexual predators.

"There are too many kids who are getting themselves into serious trouble for adolescent behavior," said Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Alan Maisel, a sponsor. "I don't know if they should be tainted with this evil brush for the rest of their lives."

The bill proposes a mandatory training program run by the state Office of Children and Family Services for first-time offenders 18 or younger, at prosecutors' discretion.

The program would warn youngsters of the possible legal, personal and career consequences of sharing sexually suggestive or explicit images.

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