I came across an article a couple weeks ago that baffled me. Let me get one thing out of the way right away, lest it become a distraction: Sidney Meyers is an idiot for calling in a school bomb threat on his cell phone. (And would still be a dummy even if he didn’t do it on his phone) With that out of the way – let’s set up the ridiculous situation here. Sidney Meyers is a 20 year old man. He met a girl who turned out to be 16 years old. They started a sexual relationship. This relationship was actually cool with the girl’s mother. And in South Carolina, where they live, the age of consent is 16 so there’s no big deal that they’re having sex. (Well, you might have some squick issues with the age difference or the fact that an adult would want to be with a minor – but legally they’re OK)
Mr Meyers also filmed himself and the girl having sex. He didn’t do this in a shady way – he had her consent. He wasn’t a jerk about it – he didn’t post the videos online, share them with friends, or email/text them. However, as I mentioned in the opening, he made the idiotic move of calling in the bomb threat with that phone. The cops searched his phone and found the videos. He was charged with possession of child pornography. WHAT? So in South Caroline it’s perfectly legal for them to have sex, but should they want to film it – they’ve stepped into child porn territory? The fact that Meyers’ dumb actions led to his phone being confiscated should not be the issue because there are multiple reasons nowadays for cops to go through your phone, computer, etc. This should not be the law. Lucky for him, the judge did not give him the full sentence – because that would be dumb. That’s why we have judges to look over the sentencing rather than auto-sentencing per crime. Unlucky for Meyers he is now a registered sex offender.
We all agree that child pornography is atrocious. We also need to have a cutoff for childhood pornography – it’s child porn at 17 and not 18? Why? Because otherwise, by the Ship of Theseus Paradox there is no age that would make sense. But, clearly, the age of child pornography should match the age of consent. If the people can engage in the act, why does filming it change anything? I know children have been given sentences for sexting, but that doesn’t make it right. These laws need to catch up with reality, but I’m afraid that won’t happen until some Senator or Representative’s kid is caught and arrested for something like this.