Sext Education: Teens, Photos, and the Law

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Manoush went to visit 18-year-old Cormega his father Robert Copening in North Carolina.

It's tough being a teenager these days.

This week, we head to Fayetteville, North Carolina where high school star quarterback, Cormega Copening, faced five felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor for exchanging racy (or romantic, depending on your point of view) photos with his girlfriend in 2015. Just half of states in the U.S. have proposed or implemented laws that address teen sexting directly.

Depending on where you live, teens who send or receive a sext to/from anyone under 18 can be charged with child pornography. In Fayetteville, things took a turn for the Kafkaesque because of a North Carolina law that treats 16-year-olds as adults if they are charged with a crime. Fayetteville Observer reporter, Paul Woolverton, explains, "We're one of two states that say that if you are 16 or older, if you're charged with a crime, you're an adult. But if you're the victim of a crime, you're a minor. So in these cases, since they were under 18 but over 16, they were both the adult criminals who exploited their minor selves." 

Click "listen" above to hear more about the case of two consenting teenagers who expressed themselves in sexts and became the center of a very public debate. 

Further listening: 

  • Last year, N2S spoke to Cañon City Schools superintendent the day after students were found trading nude photographs "like baseball cards." 
  • Listener favorite: Manoush and Peggy Orenstein discuss what it's like to be desired AND empowered as a young woman.
  • And don't forget, 16-year-old Grace who schools Manoush on how cell phone envy is still a thing.

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Music Playlist

  1. Back To Earth (Instrumental)

    Artist: Lisa Germano
  2. Marianne

    Artist: The Losers
  3. Smooth Wine

    Artist: Mike B Fort
  4. Event Horizon

    Artist: Charlie Salas-Humara
  5. Something (Bonus Track)

    Artist: Kai Engel
  6. Swingers

    Artist: Ryan Cross
  7. Pensacola Twilight

    Artist: Lee Rosevere
  8. Atmospheres

    Artist: Lee Rosevere
  9. Gilding the Lily

    Artist: Lee Rosevere
  10. Land Legs

    Artist: Andy G Cohen
  11. Laid Back Fuzz

    Artist: Podington Bear