State lawmakers debate 'sexting' law


Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Lawmakers at the Statehouse are trying to deal with sexting, a crime that no one really knows how to handle.

"Until some terrible tragedy happens where a child or teenager commits suicide because they have been bullied by e-mail, texting or sexting," said Rep. Sandra Blanton (D-Orleans).

Rep. Blanton wants a summer study committee to explore preventing cell phones in schools.

"Keep them in lockers and not allow them in the classroom or on school property to do the sexting," Rep. Blanton said.

Rep. Linda Lawson, chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, wants to amend the bill.

"The building is not the problem. It's a kid doing something really stupid, not realizing that it will be here 30 years from now, 40 years from now, as long as they live," said Rep. Lawson (D-Hammond).

She wants to give prosecutors some discretion in the charges kids face when charged with sexting.

"There will be a charge, but it will not put them in a sex registry and it's not going to put them in jail for this," Rep. Lawson said.

If child pornography is found or an adult is involved, Rep. Lawson says other laws on the books would already apply.

"Giving the prosecutor the ability to make the decision based on the information they get is the goal I am looking for. Decriminalizing it for kids," said Rep. Lawson.

Rep. Blanton says many Indiana schools already have policies pertaining to the use of cell phones in schools.

"It's hit and miss," she said. "Some allow cell phones in school and some do not."