Are teens old enough to make their own sexual decisions, or do we need to protect them from their sexual desires and experimentation? In Florida, the answer is apparently neither — they can’t engage in their own sexual choices (however misguided) and when they are caught, they are punished like adults who are responsible for their actions. That is essentially what happened when an underage couple took pictures of themselves engaged in “sexual behaviors” and emailed the pictures to the boyfriend’s email account. How the police ended up with the photos is unknown, as there is no evidence either teen shared the pictures with anyone but themselves. But the end result is that the teens were arrested and charged with “producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child.” In other words, they became kiddie porn creators and possessors.
Their lawyer tried to appeal the decision arguing that their fundamental right to privacy was violated by whoever snooped in their emails. No go, said the appeals court, as minors have no right to privacy in this case. The court voted 2-1 in favor of upholding the conviction. In the dissent, Judge Padovano stated that the law “”was designed to protect children from abuse by others, but it was used in this case to punish a child for her own mistake.”
Kudos to Anne Collier of NetFamily News for addressing this issue.