- The Connecticut law about "sexting."
- If the person appearing in the visual depiction is under the age of 13, the conduct does not qualify as "sexting."
- If the person receiving or possessing the visual depiction is over the age of 17, the conduct does not qualify as "sexting."
- If the person sending the visual depiction is not the person appearing in the visual depiction, the conduct does not qualify as "sexting."
- The new detention procedure effective JANUARY 1, 2017:
- Effective on January 1, 2017 there will be a significant change in the law impacting when a juvenile may be placed in a Juvenile Detention Center. Generally, the only juveniles that may be detained will be:
- those that pose a risk to public safety; or
- where there is a need to hold the juvenile in order to ensure the juvenile's appearance before the court, as demonstrated by the juvenile's previous failure to respond to the court process; or
- there is a need to hold the juvenile for another jurisdiction;
The fact that there is a strong probability that the juvenile will run away prior to the court hearing or disposition, a strong probability that the juvenile will commit or attempt to commit other offenses injurious to the juvenileprior to the court disposition, or probable cause to believe that the child's continued residence in the child's home pending disposition poses a risk to the juvenile because of the serious and dangerous nature of the act or acts the juvenile is alleged to have committed, will no longer be reasons to seek the detention of a juvenile.
- The new juvenile forms effective JANUARY 1, 2017 are:
Topics Currently Available:
This website is designed to answer questions and provide information about Connecticut's juvenile laws and procedures. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Case specific questions and requests for advice should be directed to the State's Attorney in your Judicial District or to the prosecutor assigned to your local Superior Court for Juvenile Matters.
If you have any problems downloading Judicial Branch forms, click here to download a page with some suggestions.
Topics Currently Available:
A number of police agencies have been dealing with "sexting" cases over the past few weeks prompting me to write the following piece about the sexting statute and when it applies and when it doesn't.
In 2010, the legislature enacted CGS section 53a-196h to make the practice known as "sexting" a misdemeanor rather than felony in certain limited and specific situations. Prior to that statute, the possession or transmission of a visual depiction (photograph, film, videotape, picture or computer-generated image or picture) of a child under the age of 16 engaged in sexually explicit conduct was considered to be "child pornography" and was a felony. While not condoning the conduct, the legislature determined that the conduct, when involving young teens, should not be punished as a felony.
To qualify as misdemeanor "sexting," the person appearing in and sending the visual depiction has to be age 13, 14 or 15 and the recipient has to be age 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17. This is a very limited set of circumstances.
So if a 13 year old sends a picture of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct to a 16 year old, that would be "sexting" for the 13 year old and for the 16 year old. If the 16 year old sends the picture to someone else however, or posts it online, the 16 year old could then be charged with promoting child pornography, a felony, because they are not sending a picture of themselves.
For all of these situations however, the visual depiction must show a person under the age of 16 engaged in "sexually explicit conduct." Such conduct is defined in CGS section 53a-193(14) that says:
"Sexually explicit conduct" means actual or simulated (A) sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal physical contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or with an artificial genital, (B) bestiality, (C) masturbation, (D) sadistic or masochistic abuse, or (E) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.
That means that not every picture of a naked or partially naked teen meets the definition. If the depiction does not display "sexually explicit conduct" then the charge of "child pornography" or "sexting" would not apply. The picture of a naked butt or what some have described as "just boobs" and nothing more would not qualify as "sexually explicit conduct" and therefore not "child pornography" or "sexting."
Such pictures might constitute "obscenity" but that is a difficult concept to define because the standards are not clearly defined. The statute says: "Whether a material or performance is obscene shall be judged by ordinary adults applying contemporary community standards."
Again this year, a legislative proposal has been submitted to eliminate the minimum age for the "sexting" statute to apply. I don't think the legislature ever thought that 10, 11 or 12 year olds would be engaging in this behavior but I have seen a number of such cases in court and at juvenile review boards.
If you get involved with a sexting case, you might find it useful to look at the BEFORE YOU TEXT! program. It is designed to teach teens about the dangers and consequences of sexting. It has been used by a number of juvenile review boards and other programs.