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Child porn charges dismissed against 14-year-old who sent risque photos

Prosecutors tried to make the case that the girl should be punished for exploiting herself.

Prosecutors tried to make the case that the girl should be punished for exploiting herself. Jhaymesisviphotography

A 14-year-old girl, known in court records as Jane Doe, was charged last year with disseminating child porn. A conviction would have come with mandatory registration as a sex offender for 10 years.

What the girl actually did was sext a boy she liked through Snapchat. That boy shared the file with a friend, and word soon traveled to a lot of classmates.

Rice County decided to charge the three kids who got a copy of the sext, including the girl who created it. Prosecutors argued that because Jane Doe sent the Snapchat, she was both victim and perpetrator under state child pornography laws.

“What my daughter went through at school with the other students was really rough, and when we found out she was also facing criminal charges, my first thought was, ‘Why are we victimizing the victim?’ ” said Jane Doe’s father last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union called bullshit. Last Friday, Judge John Cajacob agreed, dismissing all charges against Jane Doe.

His ruling largely concurred with prosecutors on their interpretation of the law. Jane Doe's Snapchat, a short video that goes beyond a nude selfie, could be considered child porn -- not protected speech. But Cajacob tossed the charges because it's "absurd, unreasonable, and unjust" that a law intended to protect children from sexual exploitation should be used to make felons of them.

“...Does subjecting this child to a record, possibly involving some form of detention or long-term probation, and a mandatory ten years on a predatory sex offender registry – not to mention years of effects on her higher education, employment, and housing opportunities – create an absurd, unreasonable result? This Court finds that it does.”