April 12, 2009
Sexting and the law

The most interesting bit in this story about "sexting" is after the jump when it turns to the DA's office for its perspective.

Eric Devlin, chief of the child exploitation section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, says he gets calls about sexting every week and considers each case individually.

If the sexting seems to be confined to teens exhibiting poor judgment or crying for attention, he contacts their parents and talks to them frankly.

The parent-child relationship is not a democracy, he says. Parents are paying for those cell phones, and they need to check them regularly to make sure their kids are using them appropriately.

"We like the parents to handle these kinds of problems," Devlin says. "We're not looking to arrest kids and charge them and affect their future. I think states that do that are going too far."

Devlin makes it clear, however, that he takes every case seriously, and he looks for signs of adults who are preying on children.

"They may start off befriending the children and attempting to gain their confidence," he says. "From there they'll ask for pictures, but not graphic pictures. Then they go down the steps to what they want."

Those are the cases Devlin prosecutes.

Given the way some prosecutors have handled these cases, that's a refreshingly enlightened viewpoint. Kudos to Devlin for having a sense of proportion.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 12, 2009 to Crime and Punishment
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