No Charges Filed After Colorado School Sexting Investigation
A recent investigation into sexting at a Colorado school did not result in any criminal charges, but it raised important legal issues for adults and minors. Colorado law defines sexting as sending sexually explicit images or messages electronically, primarily via cellphones. Though sexting may be commonplace in some teenage social circles, it can be a serious sex crime with lasting consequences.
Colorado Sex Crime Investigation
The criminal penalties are more severe when an adult possesses or sends a sext involving a minor, but even juvenile sexting can be a Colorado sex crime for both the sender and receiver. Under Colorado law, both adults and minors can be charged with various offenses such as sexual exploitation of a child (also known as child pornography) if they possess, control, send, publish or otherwise are involved in transmitting what the law labels “sexually exploitative materials,” including sexts.
The Colorado investigation led Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies to seize multiple juveniles’ cellphones after serving a warrant on the school made up of middle school and high school students. Deputies had reason to believe that some of the phones contained nude images of a female student after an image of a topless female high school student was found on one male student’s phone, according to Fox 31 Denver. The boy said the sext was unsolicited and that he was shocked when he received it.
Sexting Penalties in Colorado
No arrests were made in the Douglas County sexting case, and no one has pressed charges. Deputies told the boy, however, that he could have been convicted of a felony for receiving or possessing the sext. While it is unclear whether the boy would be convicted of a felony, which would mean a jail sentence of at least one year, an adult can be convicted of several felony offenses for sexting that involves a minor. Colorado law requires anyone convicted of a sex crime to register as a sex offender.
Those charged with sexting-related offenses should seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect his or her rights during the investigation and criminal proceedings.