Yes, you read that correctly. Two teens in North Carolina were prosecuted for having nude pictures of themselves, on their own phones.
They were charged with separate crimes for:
- taking sexually explicit photos of a minor
- possessing sexually explicit photos of a minor
In addition, the boy faced a separate charge for possessing a naked photo his girlfriend, had sent to him.
Part of the reason this unconscionable situation occurred is because in North Carolina, a child over the age of 16 may be prosecuted as an adult for certain crimes, yet the child is still under 18, and therefore the images of their own bodies on their own phones were still explicit images of minors under the letter of the law.
We need to do a better job of talking to teens and youth about the potential consequences of sending sexually explicit images of their own bodies, but this draconian measure isn't the way to accomplish that.