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However, that does not mean that adults can freely engage in sexting.There are circumstances under which sexting by adults could result in criminal charges.Child pornography laws can be very harsh; many impose years in prison for each image.For example, one young man was charged with possessing child pornography because he had on his cell phone nude photos of his 16-year-old live-in girlfriend, who was also the mother of his child.Similarly, in many states it is also a crime to ask a child under the age of 18 to share a nude photo of him or herself (this is sometimes called child enticement) – even if the child is really a law enforcement officer posing as a child as part of a sting operation.For more general information on sexting, see Teen Sexting, What is sexting? First, an adult who receives or shares a nude or sexual image of a child under the age of 18 can be charged with possessing or sending child pornography.Some states have enacted defenses against child pornography charges for (sometimes including kids up to 19 years old) who engage in sexting, but such defenses do not apply to older adults.
Finally, an adult that shares nude or sexual photos of another adult without his or her permission or who sends unwanted sexts to another person could be charged with harassment or sued in civil court for causing emotional distress or other damage.One common scenario is an ex-boyfriend who distributes private photos in an effort to get back at his ex-girlfriend.Sexting is the sharing of nude or sexually explicit messages or photos, usually by cell phone or some other electronic device or means.Between consenting adults, the private sharing of nude or suggestive photos is generally not illegal.
In many states, it is illegal to share with children anything obscene or sexual in nature.
For example, a school teacher who sends a photo of his genitals to a students could be convicted of disseminating obscenity.