from the common-sense:-1,-insane,-reactionary-bullshit:-a-billion dept
A sexting scandal made a Colorado high school a national headline. The numbers were shocking: 106 students involved with 351 images being circulated. But the most shocking number of all is this one: zero arrests. (h/t Techdirt reader withersteen)
More than 100 students involved in a sexting scandal at a southern Colorado high school will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced Wednesday in a case that illustrated the digitally saturated reality of sexting cases across the country.Given what we've seen in other (and much smaller) sexting cases -- where sex offender laws have been twisted to cover consensual interactions between adolescents -- the district attorney's decision to put control of the situation back in parents' hands is a surprise. It will no doubt be the exception that proves the rule.
Fremont County District Attorney Thom LeDoux said the investigation into the scandal at Canon City High School failed to show any adults were involved. None of the 351 images were posted to the Internet, and there was no evidence of coercion or bullying, LeDoux said.
The instinctual reaction to bring law enforcement into the equation is understandable and, admittedly, there are aspects of sexting that may require this sort of scrutiny. The problem is that prosecutors often feel compelled to find something to charge sexting participants with, if only to justify the expenditure of law enforcement resources. This leads to preposterous (and potentially life-damaging) outcomes like teens being charged with exploiting themselves by taking photos of their own bodies and sharing them with others.
Fortunately, this case is being viewed as a learning opportunity by the school district.
LeDoux said the decision not to prosecute doesn’t condone what the students did and that his office is sending warning letters to all 106 students involved. A total of about 1,000 students attend Canon City High.The other possible positive outcome of this situation is that, because of the national attention it received, prosecutors, school administrators and other authority figures may alter their tactics when dealing with similar incidents. Rather than default to the instinctive urge to punish someone, they may decide to handle this with more restraint and common sense.
He also said the Fremont County School District would offer education about sexting to both students and their parents.