Sexting Prevention Legislation

Attorney General Greg Abbott
Attorney General Greg Abbott

Maxine Ridling
NewsChannel 10

Austin, TX - Texas teens caught in the act of 'sexting' now face felony charges, but that may soon change to a less severe punishment.

Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator Kirk Watson met at the State Capitol Monday to talk about new measures they are taking to crack down on the sexting trend and to change the way prosecutors deal with the cases.

The new law Abbott and Watson are creating would limit a charge on teens to a Class A misdemeanor. That charge still carries a heavy penalty, but they say it will allow for more flexibility.

"This practice is not just harmful to young Texans, it's potentially illegal. We are joining with Senator Kirk Watson to address this problem in the state of Texas and offer common sense solutions that will help protect young Texans." -Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

"The legislation that we are working on recognizes sexting is wrong and illegal. The proposed new law would provide education for our children regarding the harm sexting causes, and it will give prosecutors an appropriate tool to stop this problem." -Senator Kirk Watson

Experts say 1 in 5 teens have admitted to sending a nude picture of themselves by phone or posting it online. One in three admit to receiving one of those images.

Under the current Texas law, those images are considered child pornography and the penalty can be between two to 20 years behind bars.

Watson and Abbott are confident the law will pass, they say it will likely go into effect by September 2011.