Rep. Giuliano Supports New Sexting Legislation
HARTFORD – Representative Marilyn Giuliano of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, supported sexting legislation proposed in the Connecticut House of Representatives this weekend that adjusts the penalties for minors between the ages of 13 to 17 to a “class A” misdemeanor.
“Sexting” occurs when a user sends sexually explicit messages, pictures or video in an instant messaging format; usually through mobile phone devices. “Sexting” is a relatively new phenomenon that came with the rise in cell phone messaging popularity. When a cell phone message is used as the medium for which to send explicit messages, it enables easy wide-spread dissemination to occur outside the control of the original sender. The immediacy and high quality of modern phone messaging allows users to post more explicit and immediately accessible content without always properly considering the consequences.
“Advances in modern technology and social media have brought great good to society at large. However, with these advances comes the opportunity for new social media to be abused. We’ve seen a dangerous rise in teen sexting in the last few years,” State Representative Marilyn Giuliano said.
Rep. Giuliano held a community forum in April at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on the dangers of sexting.
State law currently treats possession of such images as child pornography. Possession of child pornography is a felony and those convicted are forced to register as a sexual offender.
House Bill 5533, “An Act Concerning Sexting” creates a lesser category for punishment for minors who are thirteen years of age or older but under eighteen years of age. The bill makes possession of such images a class A misdemeanor for teens between 13 and 17 years of age if the facts of the case determine it should be a lesser threshold rather than the current mandatory minimum penalties for possession of child pornography.
The legislation passed unanimously early Sunday morning by a 137-0 margin.