Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. walks from his office to an elevator in the Rayburn House Office Building for a vote, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wed., June 1, 2011. Weiner denied Wednesday sending a lewd photo from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old woman, trying to calm a media furor that has only increased by the day and wasn't put to rest by the combative lawmaker's latest comments. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP)

New York's ironic teen "sexting" law

The state of Weiner and Lee wants to warn young people against sending out suggestive pictures


Natasha Lennard
June 6, 2011 11:07PM (UTC)

New York lawmakers are trying to advance a bill that would create an "educational reform" program for teenagers who get in trouble for "sexting," the Wall Street Journal reports. Amidst Weinergate, it's hard to ignore the irony that New York's politicians seem in as much need of "sexting" education as its young people.

The "Cyber Crime Youth Rescue Act" would give prosecutors and judges a more lenient option for dealing with minors accused of using their phones, email or social networking platforms to distribute naked or sexually explicit pictures of themselves or friends (which could constitute child pronography if minors are featured).

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Such concerns differ from the issues surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner's sexting exploits or former New York Rep. Chris Lee's use of Craigslist to send topless pictures of himself. It is clear, however, that it is not only teens who need to better understand the implications of a sext.

And New York's political figures should really know better by now, on and offline. Rep. Eric Massa resigned in 2010 after allegations of sexual misconduct with male staffers, including sending "inappropriate" texts. In 2008, now retired Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella revealed that he had a three-year-old child outside of his marriage. And, of course, former governor Eliot Spitzer had his prostitution scandal.

New York state's youth would do well not to learn by example on this one.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Anthony Weiner, D-n.y. New York Sexting War Room

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