New Jersey teen faces child porn charges for posting nude photos of herself online

Friday, March 27, 2009

A 14-year-old American girl, living in New Jersey, is facing possible child pornography charges after posting nude photos of herself online.

The teen, who was not identified by media reports due to her age, was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography for posting 30 nude photos of herself on MySpace. If convicted, she may have to register as a sex offender.

MySpace logo

The Passaic County Sheriff's Office investigated the teen for about a month before filing the charge. They were informed after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off a state task force about the photos.

The girl, who posted the photos online for her boyfriend, could also face up to 17 years in prison, although authorities said such a lengthy sentence is unlikely. She has been released on her mother's custody.

"We consider this case a wake-up call to parents," said Bill Maer, Passaic County sheriff's spokesman. Authorities said there could be other arrests like this one in the future.

Maureen Kanka, the mother of seven-year-old Megan Kanka, whose death led to the Megan's Law requiring authorities to make information public about registered sex offenders, said charging the 14-year-old was doing more harm than good.

"This shouldn't fall under Megan's Law in any way, shape or form," Kanka said. "She should have an intervention and counseling, because the only person she exploited was herself."

Prosecutors have charged teens who send and receive sexually suggestive photos in such states as Connecticut, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington

However, legal experts told media reporters that the recent New Jersey case was a rarity.

"I'm not sure I've seen a prosecution like this coming out of a social networking site," said Seth Kreimer, a constitutional law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.