WESTERHOLD: Sexting charges sexist

A 17-year-old girl who sent a nude photograph of herself to her boyfriend using her cell phone was charged with unruliness after her
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

A 17-year-old girl who sent a nude photograph of herself to her boyfriend using her cell phone was charged with unruliness after her 18-year-old boyfriend forwarded the photo to his friends when the couple broke off their romance. With what would you guess police charged the boyfriend?

Well, nothing.

It was the boyfriend, actually, who very well may have committed an actual crime by disseminating child pornography, but law enforcement agencies came up with a cool game of "Pass the Buck" to spare him punishment. At least that's what appears to have happened. The Erie County Sheriff's office can't come up with a charge because it just isn't sure where the boy was when he forwarded the pornography to his friends. Nifty. He gets a pass on what could be a pretty clear and serious violation of the law, and the girl gets charged under a very flexible state law.

What's wrong with this picture?

If police and prosecutors wanted to charge the boy, they could, I guess, but it looks like they just don't want to do that. A Register reporter has been asking about this for more than a month now, and I suspect they thought we'd eventually just quit asking. Sheriff's deputies say they just aren't sure where the boyfriend was living when he sent out the photo, as if he sent it from a land line. Makes no sense. Where there was no crime they come up with a charge, and where there likely is a real crime they duck.

I'm not advocating they hammer the boyfriend to the maximum, but giving him a pass with lame "jurisdictional" issues is just a load of ... It was a cell phone, not a land line. They might be able to get the cell phone records and pinpoint the exact location from where he forwarded the photos. But that's not the real issue. That's just the excuse, I think.

Throw the book at him and plead it down to disorderly conduct, another one of those perfectly flexible laws police and prosecutors rely on. If police don't do that, you have to wonder, just how sexist is our society when women get charged where no crime is committed and men get a "jurisdictional pass" because our boys in blue just ... just ... what, exactly?

I don't know. But this is one for the record books.