CINCINNATI — The punishment for teenagers caught sharing sexually explicit images could be lessened in Ohio.
A House bill would allow first-time offenders who are 18 or younger a chance to have their charges dismissed upon completion of a program that explains the impact of sexting.
Through the program, teens would review relevant laws, examine how sharing explicit material affects personal relationships and learn about the longevity of content posted online.
Such diversion programs already are in use in some counties, but the proposed legislation would require all local courts to implement them. First-time offenders are eligible for the program only if the minor involved is older than 13 and less than four years younger than the accused.
“The goal is a second chance,” said Republican state Rep. Brian Hill, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It gives young people who did something stupid one chance to wake up.”