Stevens Point changes penalty for underage sexting - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Stevens Point changes penalty for underage sexting

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Stevens Point (WAOW) -- Stevens Point City Council approved a new ordinance Monday night that lessens the penalty for underage texting. Currently, charges for sexting as a minor are a felony, but under the new ordinance a minor would get a citation instead.

"Hopefully the process would be that the juvenile offender could come in with their parent or guardian and talk to myself as well as the municipal court judge and come up with a level of consequences that are appropriate," said Stevens Point City Attorney Andrew Beveridge. "That could be more of a teaching moment rather than a contentious punishment."

Beveridge said that the goal is to dissuade kids from sexting, and punishments will be determined on a case by case basis.

"It's usually not going to be cut and dry," said Beveridge. "There's probably going to be a lot of different types of circumstances that could happen, we'll have to react appropriately to different cases."

Parents in the area said they're happy with the change.

"I get it, it's not a good thing, but being a felony they're going to have that as a felony for the rest of their lives," said parent Kim Stoll. "We have a lot more issues out there."

Many people said they didn't even know that the punishment was as severe as a penalty and stand by the city's decision.

"I'm 100 percent in favor of it, everything I did as a young adult I wouldn't necessarily think should be think be brought up to the same standards as adult courts and adult penalties, I don't necessarily believe the law has caught up with the technology so far," said Dan O'Meara of Stevens Point.

The ordinance will go into effect in Stevens Point Saturday.

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