NJ bill lets 'sexting' teens avoid charges

March 14, 2011 12:31:57 PM PDT
The Assembly has unanimously approved a bill to would let teenagers caught texting or posting sexually explicit photos online avoid prosecution if they complete a diversionary program.

The bill is for first-time "sexting" offenders who use their cell phones or computers to send or post lewd or suggestive photos.

It's a nationwide problem that has confounded parents, school administrators and law enforcers. Several other states have enacted laws creating diversionary programs for juveniles who engage in sexting, which is technically a violation of child pornography laws.

Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt of Camden, who is sponsoring the bill, says it's important to teach teens the potential consequences of their actions - not saddle them with a permanent criminal record. The state Senate hasn't taken up the measure and the governor hasn't stated a position.