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New sexting bill aims to keep teens off the sex offender registry

OKLAHOMA – Snapping salacious pics and sending them to underage sweethearts has landed thousands of teens on the sex offender registry.

That’s the same list that bears the names of those who commit heinous crimes against children.

“Young kids can make mistakes and I don’t think that they ought to carry the label of a sex offender for the rest of their life,” said State Rep. Terry O’Donnell (R) District 23.
O’Donnell authored House Bill 2541 which would change the penalties when anyone under 18 sends lewd pics to each other. Instead of a felony, the charge would become a misdemeanor that can be expunged when the child is over the age of 18.

“It doesn’t carry the stigma of ruining a child’s future of getting into college, getting into the military, getting a job,” O’Donnell said.

Comments lit up on the KFOR Facebook page, most agreed with the bill. Others believe it gives teens a free pass to bad behavior and won’t really teach them a lesson.
Jillian Scarf, mother of two said the right balance is somewhere in the middle.

“I think it should be based on the situation. Depending on what the picture is, who they were sending it to and the audience. I think it should be based on content and range.” O’Donnell said, “By the same token there’s an educational component to the bill that directs the attorney general and the department of education come up with the curriculum that talks about the legal consequence but also the social consequences.”

Also in the bill, teens charged with sexting would have to pay a fine between $500- and $1,000 dollars.


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