Two Ohio teens–both 15–were sentenced yesterday “for their role in nude photos of minors found on a cell phone.”
According to this judge’s definition of Ohio Chapter 2907 (sex offenses), two teens exchanging nude photos–either of themselves or other teens–constitutes delivering, disseminating, providing or presenting
to a juvenile, a group of juveniles, a law enforcement officer posing as a juvenile, or a group of law enforcement officers posing as juveniles any material or performance that is obscene or harmful to juveniles
We can quibble about that later, but here’s what I find really interesting: the boy and girl involved in this case received different sentences.
Here are the things the two sentences have in common:
*No cell phone use for a 30 day probationary period
*100 hours of community service
According to the Middletown Journal, however, the boy will also be under house arrest for 30 days. The girl, on the other hand, was sentenced by Judge Mike Powell to
prepare an assignment on teen motivation to engage in behavior commonly termed as “sexting” and its consequences, then present a report before a four-person court clinic staff panel.
I find this perplexing.
Commenters on the Journal piece contend that the boy is receiving a harsher sentence because he was ultimately the one in possession of the pictures, potentially with intent to distribute. But I have to wonder if the sentence doesn’t have to do with societal expectations about teen sexuality: The boy, as the sexual aggressor, must be kept under lock and key to ensure that he doesn’t stray; the girl must examine her motivations and justify them to members of the court.
What if it had been the other way around? What if a girl had nude pictures of a boy on her phone? Would she be under house arrest? Would this case even have made it to court?