The current insane trend of charging young people (usually girls) with various forms of child pornography for posting or texting sexual images of themselves has reached such a nadir that the very woman who brought about Megan's Law (which forces convicted sex offenders to register their address with the state every ninety days) is now against it. The case that has caused such outcry involves a fourteen-year old girl who is being charged with 'distribution of child pornography' for posting 30 explicit images of herself on My Space.
Quoted from The Associated Press -
Maureen Kanka -- whose daughter, Megan, became the law's namesake after she was raped and killed at age 7 in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender -- blasted authorities for charging the 14-year-old girl.
The teen needs help, not legal trouble, she said. "This shouldn't fall under Megan's Law in any way, shape or form. She should have an intervention and counseling, because the only person she exploited was herself." If convicted, the unlucky teenager could face seventeen years in jail and/or be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Yeah, that'll teach her. I wrote about this just over a month ago. I'll say now what I said then. Here's the simple version of why this is stupid beyond belief. I have a 19-month old daughter. I certainly would prefer she not send sexually explicit photos of herself to her boyfriend (or to a social networking site) when she's fourteen. But, I'm far more afraid of her being branded as a sex offender, with all the goodies that go along with that (having to register, being forced to live in designated areas, being stigmatized, basically being removed from the fabric of society) for engaging in said adolescent sexual misbehavior. And going after kids for being dumb kids in the name of protecting kids is the pinnacle of illogical.
I've never been a fan of Megan's Law. I feel that it amounts to punishment after incarceration and it makes it almost impossible for a convicted sex offender to make any kind of fresh start (thus make recidivism more likely, in my opinion). But it's nice to know that even Maureen Kanka knows that there should be a line between actual sex crime and juvenile misbehavior. As a father, things like this and that Connecticut school that just outlawed touching between students terrify me far more than peer pressure, drugs, or teen bullying. I can do all I can to teach my child to deal with irrational children, but what the hell do I tell them about dealing with irrational, authoritarian adults who can wreck their lives without a second thought?