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WA: Law Would Reduce Severity of Charges for Teens Who Send, View Sexually Explicit Images

[chronline.com]

The state Senate a week ago passed legislation amending state law to reduce charges against teens over 12 years old for sending, producing or viewing sexually explicit material of other teens over 12 years old from a felony to a misdemeanor charge.

According to a news release from the Washington state Senate Democrats, the changes reflect the distinction between the sending of sexually explicit images by teens, as opposed to distributing such materials through malicious intent.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond. Under current law, any minor sending an image of themselves to another person of their own age could face felony charges and penalties of up to five years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration, even if it was there own picture and there is no malicious intent.

“As a parent knows, kids sometimes make mistakes,” Dhingra said in a release. “We hope the mistakes they make become opportunities for learning and growth. Children today face a new set of challenges as evolving technologies have opened the door to mistakes than can haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

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