The Juvenile Law Center is asking Pennsylvania state senators to pass Senate Bill 850 which creates the offenses of cyberbullying and sexting.
The center supports the senate bill over House Bill 815, which is sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, “because it gets to the true dangers of sexting and cyberbullying — when images are posted or shared” without consent “with the intent to harm another individual.”
Under the senate bill, a violator is charged with third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Under the house bill, a violator is charged with second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
The center offers further examples of the differences between the two bills:
Jane, 15, sends a topless photo of herself to her boyfriend, Josh. Jane subsequently breaks up with Josh. Out of anger, Josh forwards Jane’s photo, without consent, to 17 of his friends.
SB-850: Josh is charged with a third-degree misdemeanor and Jane is not charged.
HB-815: Jane and Josh both are charged with second-degree misdemeanors;
Emma, 14, would like to be in a relationship with 16-year-old Steven. Steven repeatedly asks Emma to send him a photo of herself naked. Emma does not want to, but knows Steven will not date her unless she does. Emma sends a photo which Steven immediately sends to Jill, who posts it on Facebook.
SB-850: Steven and Jill are charged with a third-degree misdemeanors and Emma is not charged.
HB-815: All three are charged with second-degree misdemeanors.