(Community Matters 65) Prosecutor Warns of the Perils of Sexting for Adults, Minors

For adults, it could mean revenge porn or sextortion. For minors, it can mean very adult trouble.

On January 4, 2024, Calhoun County (Michigan) Prosecuting Attorney David Gilbert issued an alert to all residents warning about the potential pitfalls of a very modern practice: Sexting.

The message is especially aimed at parents and students, given the law’s very serious interpretation of Child Sexually Abusive Material.

While some may look at the practice of sexting among minors (sharing and receiving of sexually explicit messages and nude or partially nude images via computer or cell phone) as just kids being kids, Gilbert points out the law sees it much more seriously.

“Even if pictures are sent voluntarily, if someone shares that image, it can be socially, emotionally and academically devastating,” Gilbert said.

“With children the problem is not just immaturity and the likelihood of using poor judgement; sexually explicit photographs of minors, whether voluntary or not, are considered child sexually abusive material [CSAM],” he added.

That means possession of this material can be construed as a felony. If convicted, a person could be looking at a 20-year felony requiring sex offender registration.

Click the links below for more information including information on common tactics used to lure minors into sharing such material, as well as tips for parents and students who might become targets.

If you have questions or concerns, contact your local police agency or the Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office.

Resource page with more info for parents and students
Full press release from the Calhoun County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney