In recent years, ‘sexting’ has entered our lexicon, frightening the parents of teens with cell phones and other mobile devices. Now, lawmakers and judges are cracking down on the act, and, as a result, a Vermont teen is headed to prison.
According to the Associated Press, 18-year-old Isaac Owusu will serve 90 days of a two-year sentence in a Vermont prison after pleading guilty to two counts of committing a prohibited act and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct this past Thursday in what was the state’s first sexting case. It could’ve been worse for the teen from Morrisville, who told two teenage girls to send him videos or photos of them performing sexual acts. However, Vermont lawmakers recently decriminalized sexting, which led to sexual assault charges against Owusu being dropped as part of a plea deal.
Legislators say they passed the loosened sexting law because they didn’t want teens to be labeled as sex offenders due to, in the words of the AP, “something so foolish.” We doubt the parents of the two girls involved think this situation is “foolish,” at all. While this young man didn’t physically interact with these girls in any inappropriate way, his behavior is nevertheless unacceptable. Lawmakers need to send a hard message to teens: Sexting isn’t okay. A reduced sentence doesn’t accomplish that.