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Heavy-handed Law Finds Teen Guilty of Trafficking Child Porn for 'Sexting' Picture of Another Teen

First case in Canada in which a teen has been convicted of distributing child porn for 'sexting' sets a dangerous precedent.
 
 
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Although the original intent of child poronography laws was to shield children from the manipulative and salacious actions of adults, the 21st century notion of sexting has confused the ways in which the laws are applied--most especially by ensnaring younger people within the criminal justice system.

In Victoria, B.C., a 17-year-old girl was found guilty of possessing and distributing child porn after "sexting" pictures of another teenage girl to a friend. 

This is the first time a teenager in Canada has been convicted of such an offense.

The girl's defense attorney, Christopher Mackie, has announced his intentions to address the limits of the child pornography law in these particular cases. 

"These child pornography laws were intended to protect children, not to persecute them, and again it seems the criminal justice system, it's a heavy hammer to be using," Mackie said to CBC news. 

Candra Fisher, a government prosecutor in Canada, confirmed that the case was likely "precedent-setting." 

"It may well be difficult to find precedents. I've had a quick look already and nothing I've found quite fits," said Fisher, noting that the case was unusual. 

The Canadian government also acknowledges the gap in legal proceedings meant to address teen-specific crime, like bullying and sexting, and has introduced a new law intended to address such issues. There is no indiciation, however, that such laws would work retroactively.

Aaron Cantú is an investigator for the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and an independent journalist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @aaronmiguel_
 
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