By Evan Bleier
A 14-year-old New Jersey girl is facing child pornography charges for posting almost 30 nude photos of herself on MySpace. If she is convicted, the girl may have to register as a sex offender.
According to The Daily News, this case is just one example of a larger effort by law enforcement officials across the country to crack down on child pornography. Prosecutors now routinely bring charges resulting from kids sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. This case may be unique in that it is the first one where charges were filed based on a teen posting photos on a social networking site.
The explicit posting was brought to the attention of law enforcement by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. MySpace has yet to comment on the matter. The company does have an internal team that is supposed to review image postings but it appears they may have missed this one.
After the Passaic County Sherriff’s Office began their investigation, the photos that they discovered online were “very explicit.” The sheriff’s spokesman, Bill Maer, said that girl posted the photos of herself because she wanted her boyfriend to be able to see them. “We consider this case a wake-up call to parents,” Maer said.
After officially being charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, the girl was released into the custody of her mother. The girl’s name has not been made public because of her age.
If the girl is found guilty of the distribution charge, she would have to register with the state as a sex offender because of the provisions set forth by Megan’s Law. She would also be facing up to 17 years in prison.
No matter what happens, it sounds as if this case is a first.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a prosecution like this coming out of a social networking site,” said Seth Kreimer, a constitutional law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.