Grove Sexting Bill Approved by House Judiciary Committee
Legislation could be considered by the full House in April
A bill authored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) to address the phenomenon of teens transmitting via text message nude photos of themselves or other minors, or photos of any minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, called “sexting,” was approved by the House Judiciary Committee today.
The legislation would create a new misdemeanor of the second degree for minors age 13 to 17 caught disseminating such material. Under current law, teens could be subject to felony prosecution for these acts.
“We need to send a message to minors that this sort of behavior is not OK, but a felony prosecution, which is the only tool currently available to prosecutors, is too strong of a message,” said Grove. “House Bill 2189 will allow cases of minor to minor sexting to be tried in juvenile courts, which will provide a menu of adjudication options including counseling and expungement of the prosecution from a minor’s permanent criminal record.”
House Bill 2189 was amended in committee by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Lower Paxton) to include possession or dissemination by minors of nude photos of themselves or other minors, or of any minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This provision was added because committee members raised concerns about a person who does not transmit these photos via electronic communication, but does show them to other individuals. Marsico’s amendment also allows for adjudication alternatives and specifies that minors prosecuted under these provisions will not be subject to secure detention or placement.
The bill was approved in committee by a vote of 22-4 and could be considered by the full House as early as April.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 783-8063
Member site: RepGrove.com
Twitter site: Twitter.com/repgrove