New Sexing Law In Colorado


Riley Jones, Staff

Ashlyn and Ximena have been dating for about two years. They send each other cute texts and fun pictures throughout the day to stay connected. But what happens if they send a racy picture? Or an offensive text?

At the start of the new year, a new law in Colorado takes effect that addresses teen sexting and changes the legal consequences from a felony offense to the lesser charge of misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.

This law came about after a series of sexting controversies around the state in recent years. Before this change, there was no legal guidance in the way of sexting laws so teenagers who sent “nude, sexual or other otherwise explicit images via cell phone, through internet messaging or similar means” could be charged with serious charges – punishments that many law enforcement and lawmakers believed didn’t fit the crime, “It’s reasonable due to the fact that we’re just kids,” Mariah Hoeft (12) said.

Students and teachers are talking about the change, “This serves as a good reminder to be very careful about what you post online. Once it’s posted it is out there in the world,” Teacher Scott Silva said.

Before the change to the law, prosecutors’, those who have to charge younger people with a crime, only had one choice. They had to charge teenagers who were caught with nude or offensive pictures, (even among consenting friends) with felony exploitation of a child.

The new law is a tiered approach It makes a distinction between abusive forms of sexting (such as malicious distribution) and consensual electronic exchange of explicit images, “It is a step in the right direction. I don’t appreciate people trying to send nude pictures,” Officer Orion Watts said.

The Colorado School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC) has been mandated to create a comprehensive education program to distribute to schools by June 2018, regarding risks, consequences, and defenses to charges of sexting behavior. In the meantime, CSSRC has released a brief video on its website.