New law address teens who share intimate pictures - | WBTV Charlotte

New law address teens who share intimate pictures

CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) -

What happened to students at Hough High School earlier this year during a sexting and extortion investigation was a wake-up call to all parents and their kids.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say 75 pictures of female classmates were posted online. 

A former student says she was threatened to send more pictures, or old ones would resurface. Now a former student is under arrest.

In cases like this, the victims and the suspects are young, and both are facing life-long consequences.

Before a new law took effect in December, the offender could have been branded a felon and put on the sex offender registry for distributing child pornography.

“It's like hitting a nail in with a golden hammer,” said father and juvenile defense attorney Ken Harris, who works with the Council for Children’s
Rights. 

Harris says the old law didn't fit the crime and was a constant struggle for both defense attorneys and prosecutors who were forced to retrofit a law designed for adult crimes.

Now, the law speaks directly to what's called “revenge posting” online by making it a criminal offense to share certain images where there's an expectation of privacy.

The law also requires intent to be considered, whether the offender intended to harass and humiliate the victim. It’s a felony for adults, but there’s an exception for first time offenders under 18. In those cases, the crime is a misdemeanor.

“In juvenile court, our number one goal is to do all we can to help the child,” said Harris, who believes this law is a step in the right direction. He says it speaks to the offender's age and recognizes a teen’s immaturity and lack of understanding consequences.

Students also told us, it's also important to stop the cycle before it begins. 

"Don't put your nude pictures on the internet and send them to guys," said one teenager who previously spoke with WBTV.

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