Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of New York

Anyone who creates, distributes or possesses an image of a New Yorkminor engaged in a sexually explicit act may be prosecuted under the State of New York’s child pornography laws and if convicted, will generally need to register as a sex offender. In June of 2011, legislators proposed a new law that would address teenage sexting. In general, the law would allow first time offenders to avoid jail time and there would not be a requirement to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

Currently, there is no specific statute in the State of New York that addresses sexting. Therefore any individual that is caught with or transferring an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act would be subject to prosecution under the State’s child pornography statute. New York legislators have previously proposed legislation that would call for counselling, and educational programs to help combat the sexting epidemic, but as of yet, no proposal has been successfully signed into law. However, legislators have recently proposed a bill that would allow courts to send first time offenders to mandatory educational classes if the court deems a lack of intent to commit a crime. The bill, if passed, would apply to teenager 18 or younger.

Law and Punishment

In general, under New York law it is a felony to:

  • Knowingly use a minor in a sexually explicit performance.
  • Promote material that contains a child under the age of 17 engaging in a sexually explicit act, or
  • Possess material that contains a child under the age of 16 engaging in a sexual act.

If convicted, jail sentences could range from 2 to 15 years and will generally need to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Charged with a felony crime.

Up to 15 years in jail.

Register as a sex offender.

Latest News Concerning Sexting in New York

Teens who 'sext' are clueless about risk

NY Daily News | June 15, 2012

Sexting arrest prompts warning to parents

WHEC News 10 | April 20, 2012

Farmington Man Accused of Sexting Girls

WHAM ABC 13 | April 19, 2012

Man Arrested In Brighton Sexting Case

WHAM ABC 13 | March 28, 2012

Queensbury man accused of sexting teen

Hudson Valley News | March 26, 2012

Ex-cop sentenced for sexting teen girl

WIVB | February 5, 2012

"Bensonhurst Junior High School Suspended 32 For Sexting"

Huffington Post | December 19, 2011

Younger Kids Are Sexting

ABC 13 WHAM | November 21, 2011

School fights sexting outbreak

Times Union | October 14, 2011

Nunda man charged with sexting teen

Livingston County News | July 27, 2011

NFTA Cop Arrested for Sexting a Minor

WGRZ NBC 2 | July 7, 2011

Student Expelled for Sexting Sues Queens School

The Queens Gazette | June 15, 2011

C-PP Teacher Resigns After Sexting Student

WETM NBC 18 | June 15, 2011

Queens Teen at Center of Sexting Dispute

NY Convergence | June 10, 2011

Lawmakers propose teen sexting law

Wall Street Journal | June 6, 2011

RIT Student Charged With Sexting Teen

WIBV Channel 4 | May 21, 2011

DA's office launching new sexting program | May 5, 2011

Dealing with sexting in middle schools

ABC 9 WSYR | May 5, 2011

Sexting problems in the southern tier

WETM NBC 18 | May 3, 2011

Teacher admits to sexting teen

The Leader Corning | April 29, 2011

Teacher admits to sexting teen

The Leader Corning | April 21, 2011

Dangers of Sexting, sex abuse real even in Davis

Clipper Today | April 20, 2011

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