Sexting has consequences. Just ask New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who right now is experiencing private and political fallout from sending sexually explicit text messages to several women.
But such conduct – when done with a minor in California – can have consequences beyond embarrassment.
California Penal Code Section 288.2 makes it a crime to send “harmful matter” (appealing to the prurient interest) for the purpose of seducing a minor.
A first time California Penal Code Section 288.2 conviction can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, but a subsequent conviction is a felony.
Felony convictions come with a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
The statute has exceptions for sex education and for “legitimate scientific purposes,” but there is no exception for “consent of the recipient” or for minor-to-minor violations. That means that two teenagers engaged imprudent high-tech necking run the risk of a juvenile record.
In California, sexting is also criminal when it involves child pornography or on-line harassment known as cyberstalking.