The bill would allow courts to use existing programs and prosecutors would retain the discretion to criminally charge first-time offenders when deemed appropriate.
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“This generation -- a lot of pictures taken and videos recorded,” said Rezabek. “It seems it’s always a young girl sending a picture to a young boy, who then sends it to his buddies.”
That scenario played out four years ago in Oakwood, Ohio, with a high school freshman who ended up spending several Saturdays, attending classes in a Montgomery County diversion program. His mother praises the program as a second-chance for kids who make mistakes and an opportunity for them to learn about the law and consequences to their behavior.
“They just don’t understand the gravity of things and only have a vague understanding of law,” the mother said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect her son’s privacy.
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This generation of teens and young adults constantly share candid -- and sometimes sexually explicit -- photos without an awareness of the long-term ramifications, the mother said. “It’s this dangerous juxtaposition: the bubble of obliviousness and they’re starting to change, they’re going through puberty.”
Sexting is the creation, sending, receiving or showing of sexually-oriented content via cell phone, email, social media or other online sources. It is legal among consenting adults, as long as elements of coercion aren’t part of it, Rezabek said.
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When minors are involved in sexting, it can lead to criminal charges. Studies show that one in four teens are involved in sexting, while as many as half have seen inappropriate texts, according to the Ohio State Bar Association.
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