Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the Commonwealth of PA

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed a law making Pennsylvaniasexting a second-degree misdemeanor for minors who intentionally or knowingly record, view, possess or transmit images of a minor (above the age of 13) engaged in sexually explicit conduct. First-time offenders would be subject to a summary charge, that would not be on their permanent record but the minor would be required to forfeit their electronic devices. Until the proposed legislation becomes law, minors may still be prosecuted under the Commonwealth’s child pornography laws. If convicted, an individual could receive jail time as well as may need to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

Lawmakers have proposed making sexting its own crime. If successful, sexting would carry a misdemeanor charge for minors who intentionally or knowingly record, view, possess or transmit images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct of a minor. Children, who are first time offenders would be subject to a summary charge, avoid jail time and would not receive a criminal record but would be required to surrender their cellular phone or other similar electronic device. In addition, the child would not be required to register as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

Until lawmakers agree on a sexting statute, minors could be charged under the Commonwealth’s child pornography laws. In general, under Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse of children statute it is a felony to:

  • Photograph, videotape, depict on computer or film sexual acts by a child under the age of 18 years.
  • Disseminate photographs, videotapes, computer depictions and films of a minor engaged in a sexual act.
  • Intentionally view or knowingly possess or control any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act.

If you are convicted under the statute you have to register as a sex offender. You could also be subject to up to 10 years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine if found guilty under the statute.

sobering reality

Up to 10 years in jail.

Up to a $25,000 fine.

Register as a sex offender.

Latest News Concerning Sexting in Pennsylvania

Math teacher to stand trial on sexting allegations

Pittsburgh Post Gazette | April 19, 2012

Think twice before 'sexting'

Pocono Record | April 18, 2012

Wildwood Man Accused of Sexting Girl

NBC 10 Philadelphia | March 28, 2012

Teen ‘Sexting’ can Lead to Jail Time

Lower Macungie Patch | January 31, 2012

Protecting your kids from cyber danger

WFMZ | January 28, 2012

Bath man admits sexting girl, fondling her on fishing trip

Lehigh Valley Live | January 20, 2012

Court affirms child porn sentence

The Times Tribune | December 16, 2011

Mercer teacher charged with sexting 2 students

Pittsburgh Post Gazette | December 16, 2011

Kittanning man's hearing on sexting continued | November 16, 2011

New Kensington man accused of sexting children | November 7, 2011

Man arrested for allegedly sexting 12 year old | October 31, 2011

Man charged with sexting 16 year old

Post-Gazette | September 12, 2011

How Tech Maginfies Torment

Daily Local News | August 22, 2011

State bills target juvenile sexting

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | May 28, 2011

PA House Approves "Sexting" Bill

Politics PA | May 24, 2011

Bethlehem man faces more sexting charges

Lehigh Valley Live | April 19, 2011

Former assistant principal admits to sexting students.

NBC Philadelphia | March 18, 2011

Local DA Warns Students About Sexting

WFMZ Allentown | March 16, 2011

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