Thus, a 17-year-old who snaps his or her own revealing picture has technically created child pornography, a Class 1 felony with a mandatory fine of between $2,000 and $100,000 and at least four years in prison.
While the statute does not define "sufficient time," sooner is better than later.
Legislators should consider drafting a narrow exception to sex offenses to prevent "innocent" teens from being charged with serious violations while maintaining liability for those who are guilty of actual child pornography - regardless of age.
Until then, parents and schools may be better equipped to discipline and admonish sexting teens than are police and prosecutors.
In addition to risking reputation and self-esteem, sexting teenagers also expose themselves, their peers, and their school administrators to significant criminal liability. Most alarmingly, a sexting minor, or a recipient of a sext message from a minor, may have committed one or more felonies under the Illinois Child Pornography Act (the "Act").