Juvenile Sexting Diversion Program Created

Press Release from the Office of Glenn Hess, State Attorney

The State Attorney’s Office has implemented a Juvenile Sexting Diversion Program that began on February 1, 2017. This program applies to any child under the age of 18 who sends a sexually explicit photograph to another minor.

For a first offense, pursuant to Florida Statute 847.0141, the child or his parent or legal guardian will be required to pay $65 to the Clerk of Court or the child must perform 8 hours of community service at any non-profit organization.  Failure to complete one of the sanctions within 30 days will require a court appearance before a Circuit Judge in Juvenile Court on a court date provided by the law enforcement officer on the citation.  If a child receives a second offense, it will be classified as a first degree misdemeanor and he/she will be prosecuted in Juvenile Court.  A third or subsequent offense will be a third degree felony that will also be prosecuted in Juvenile Court.

This program is the result of a cooperative effort between the various law enforcement agencies, the Clerk of Court, and the State Attorney’s Office to teach minors about the dangers of sending out such explicit photographs to others,without punishing them criminally for a first offense.  However, if the photograph in question is classified as child pornography, the child could be prosecuted for offenses listed under Florida Statute 847.002 and 847.0137.

For any questions concerning this program, contact Assistant State Attorney Susan Rodger at (850) 872-4473, extension 1328.