Sexting: No Scarlet Letters in South Carolina if New Law Passes
If you’re a 16-year-old South Carolina girl that gets a little too randy on a Friday night, and you finally decide via text to give your 15-year-old boyfriend that picture of the “real” you that he’s been begging for, you could be beheaded by SC law.
Actually, that’s not true. You could, however, end up with a label that could easily ruin the rest of your life, and that’s in addition to whatever other penalties come with a Class E felony. For informational purposes, that particular category also punishes people who sell a little crack, try to stab a cop, or burn down an outhouse, although the punishment is not quite the same. The difference is that you, for one nasty, little text, have to carry a label around for the rest of your life that lets everyone know you’re an offender…a sex offender.
Three State Senators, Mike Fair (R-Greenville), Darrell Jackson (D-Richland), and C. Bradley Hutto (D-Orangeburg) are trying to pass a law that would change all of that. The three Senators are pursuing the bill because most people in SC believe that the current punishment for “sexting” is far too harsh, and recent surveys have shown that too many teens admit to doing it. WAGT-26 in Columbia reported that “a nationwide survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that 20 percent of teens admit to sexting,” a number that seems small, but is far too high when considering the risk.
If the bill were to pass, sexting would still be against the law, but getting caught doing it wouldn’t come with the type of baggage that would turn the offender’s life into a living hell. Instead, it would try to educate teens and adults on the consequences of such an action, and put in place a more reasonable system of punishment. Instead of ending up in prison on a felony charge with a label on your head, sexting would become a misdemeanor punishable by a $100.00 fine and/or a “You Should Know Better” class.Continued on the next page