• Vermont decriminalizes sexting by minors

    Date: 09.17.09 | by Natalie Jacobs.

    The Vermont legislature has no interest in sending teens to jail as sex offenders or requiring them to register as such for the rest of their lives.  In 2009, they passed a law authorizing first-time sexting offenders to be declared delinquent in the juvenile justice system and sent to a diversion program.

    TextingMShades

    Photo by MShades (Flickr)

    In August, 2009, a Vermont teenager became one of the first offenders sentenced for a sexting violation.  Because Isaac Owusu was 18, he wasn’t eligible for the juvenile diversion program.  He was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault in a case involving teenage girls. He directed them to photograph themselves performing sex acts and send him the results. 

    Isaac pleaded guilty to committing a prohibited act and lewd and lascivious conduct.  He was sentenced to two years in prison, with all but 90 days suspended, and five years probation.  If he violates his probation, he could serve the full two years.

    Other states that have passed laws making sexting a misdemeanor include Utah and Arizona. If you Google the state name and “sexting” you’ll be able to read the specifics of these laws and penalties.

    For more about the consequences of sexting, click here.

    Natalie Jacobs

    This post was written by Natalie Jacobs. Prior to joining the AsktheJudge.info team, Natalie worked as a criminal attorney for over five years. She also has worked with Innocence Projects as well as Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, a character development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. When she's not reading and writing about youth justice issues, she thinks about becoming a farmer, chef, world traveler, Bikram master, dogwalker and 80’s film reviewer.

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    1 Comment subscribe to these comments.

    • Randy Boise
      Wed, 20 Feb 2013 at 04:45

      Unbelievable!!! Teens send naked pics for sexual reasons, as do adults. To say it’s not a sexual crime is to cause much greater harm later, to them and others. It’s the exact same as saying that a teen can drink alcohol all them want until an adult, then they have to stop cold turkey. No teen will stop once they become an adult, any more than a teen would stop drinking or sending porn once they become an adult. Don’t call it a crime now and they won’t think it is later, plus a lot of other things that will ruin their lives. Talk about spoiling a child…or rather lazy prosecutors in denial. If it’s no crime then let the hundreds of thousands of adults in prison go for doing the exact same thing, and the teens are producing it! That is a 20-year prison sentence for ana adult, yet the teen thinks it’s funny and gets away with it. Can I rob a bank as a minor or start a home on fire and get away with it because I’m a teen? A crime is a crime people….
      Thanks for your thoughts, Randy.