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What is the law concerning sexting for minors

Chagrin Falls, OH |

My son and his friend who are both 16 were stopped by police because they were in an abandoned building. They were told to empty their pockets and when they did their cell phones were picked up by the officer who began looking thru them. My son had a picture of a girl who was completely nude. She sent him the photo, he did not ask for a nude photo. Now they want to prosecute him. The officer who took the phones told us it was contraband and that is why he was allowed to view the phone.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Hire an attorney now. Even though your son is a minor, the recent trend in Cuyahoga County is to charge delinquency actions such as pandering for these types of offenses. This can lead to sex offender registry for many years. Your son has rights and his whole life ahead of him. It is critical that you have an attorney for him.


  2. In addition to the comments by counsel, I see huge issues with the legality of the search of your son's phone in the first place. A phone is contraband? Since when? Unless there's a law in your state that says juveniles cannot possess a cell phone, the phone itself is not contraband.

    What legal justification do they have for looking through the phone? If your son gave consent, that's another story, but if not, there is a good chance an attorney can challenge the search, leading to suppression of the evidence and dismissal of the charges.

    Start consulting with an attorney NOW, well before the court date.


  3. I agree your son needs an attorney. The search needs to be reviewed to see if it was legal. Sexting is a new rage among teens. It carries with it many, many consequences. Rules pertaining to privacy include such concepts as, 1) sending a nude picture over a cell phone is illegal if the sender is a minor, 2) if the owner of the cell phone receiver of the nude picture is a minor and/or 3) if the pictured nude person is a minor. Simple as that.

    There are many other consequences of sending a nude picture over a cell phone, too. Check with a OH lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

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