CONNECTICUT TEENAGE SEXTING LAW
By: Marybeth Sullivan, Associate Legislative Analyst
Shannon King, Legislative Research Intern
ISSUE Does Connecticut have a law about teenagers who send sexually explicit images via an electronic device (i.e., "sext")? Are there any legal repercussions for teenagers who are caught "sexting"?
Connecticut has a law that makes sexting between certain teenagers a crime. This law addresses sexting between senders of child pornography, ages 13 to 15 years old, and recipients, ages 13 to 17 years old (CGS § 53a-196h).
The sexting law does not address situations in which the (1) image transmitted from the sender to the recipient is subsequently sent by the recipient to a larger audience or (2) sender or recipient's age is outside of the ranges provided above. Depending on the circumstances, these situations may fall under the adult child pornography laws, which are felony crimes.
TEENAGE SEXTING LAW
Connecticut law punishes both the teenage sender of a "sext" for electronically transmitting child pornography and the receiver for possessing it.
A teenager breaks this law if he or she is (1) age 13 to 15 and knowingly and voluntarily sends an image of him or herself that is considered child pornography using an electronic communication device or (2) age 13 to 17 and knowingly possesses this image.
LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS FOR VIOLATING CGS § 53A-196H
Violation of the teenage sexting law is a class A misdemeanor, ordinarily punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. Teenage violators, however, are generally prosecuted through the juvenile justice system, thus receiving punishments appropriate for juvenile delinquents. This may include, among other things, a warning, fine, probation, or commitment to Department of Children and Families custody for up to 18 months with a possible extension.