NJ girl, 14, arrested after posting nude pics
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com — charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.
The case comes as prosecutors nationwide pursue child pornography cases resulting from kids sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. Legal experts, though, could not recall another case of a child porn charge resulting from a teen's posting to a social networking site.
The office investigated and discovered the Clifton resident had posted the "very explicit" photos of herself, sheriff's spokesman Bill Maer said Thursday. "We consider this case a wake-up call to parents," Maer said. The girl posted the photos because "she wanted her boyfriend to see them," he said.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. She was released to her mother's custody.
If convicted of the distribution charge, she would be forced to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law, said state Attorney General Anne Milgram. She also could face up to 17 years in jail, though such a stiff sentence is unlikely.
This story is shocking for several reasons.
The first, and most obvious, we ought to be shocked at the state our society when a fourteen year old girl wants her boyfriend to see "very explicit" pictures of herself and so posts them on a forum that is on view to the public at large. When I was young, such photos were considered blackmail material, now they are, evidently, something to be proud of.
Secondly, I have to wonder what the N.J. officials were thinking when they arrested her. Aren't laws against child pornography there to protect children? Plainly, this girl is profoundly disturbed (or simply well adjusted to a profoundly disturbed society) and she cannot be held culpable for this kind of self-destructive behavior. Certainly such photos must be suppressed, possibly the state needs to intervene in this poor girl's life, but the last thing she needs is to be forever stigmatized as a "sex offender" when her only crime is to be such a child of her times.