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Sexting: Just a Mistake or a Crime?

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Sadly, "sexting" has become the latest trend amongst teenagers–that is, texting sexually explicit messages to one another. As sexting grows in popularity, law enforcement officials are becoming increasingly more confused over whether sexting should be considered merely a "big mistake" or a crime.

Authorities in Tarrant County, Texas are facing this question after allegations were made at Hillwood Middle School. According to Fort Worth police, a girl at the middle school alerted her mother that some of her fellow classmates were sending one another explicit text message photographs of female students. The mother subsequently notified school officials who then contacted the police. Other parents also allege that the group of students sending the messages were part of a club called "The Cause".

Tarrant County Investigators have obtained photographs from students’ cell phones and will turn them over to Tarrant County juvenile prosecutors, who will have to determine whether the students’ actions are a crime. In a letter sent home to parents of Hillwood students, the principal warned that sexting can be considered a felony. Nevertheless, Tim Bednarz, the chief of the Tarrant County district attorney’s juvenile division, stated that prosecutors consider each "sexting" case individually before deciding what charges should apply, with possibilites ranging from Class A misdemeanor obscenity charges to felony child pornography charges. However, Bednarz also stated that his office has reviewed several sexting cases, none of which have risen to the level of a crime.