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Sexting: Is it more serious than kids think?

The prevalence of smartphones and social media has given people a range of possibilities that previous generations could only dream about. In addition to being able to communicate with their friends or research a homework topic in a few moments’ time, children can send and receive pictures of each other. There are both positive and negative aspects to modern technology, as you and other California parents are aware.

Understanding California’s cyberstalking laws

On Jan. 1, 2017, California’s criminal and civil laws against cyberstalking became tougher. As the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported, cyberstalking is a crime under Sections 422 and 646.9 of the California Penal Code, conviction of which now could result in a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse adds that the prison sentence increases to between two and four years if the conviction is for cyberstalking someone in violation of a restraining order.

What is Megan’s Law?

If you have ever been convicted in any state of a sex-related crime involving a child and are now living in California, you must register as a sex offender in this state. The California Department of Justice’s Megan’s Law Website sets forth full information regarding Megan’s Law, Section 290.46 of the California Penal Code, that was passed in 1996. The law is named for seven-year-old Megan Kanka, whose neighbor raped and murdered her. Although he was a known child molester, he nevertheless had been allowed to move across the street from Megan’s family without their knowledge.

What is sexual harassment?

If you are a California employer or independent contractor, you may not be aware that California law requires you to train all your supervisory employees in how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The California Department of Employment and Housing defines sexual harassment as not only an unwanted sexual advance, but also any form of physical, verbal or visual sexual conduct that harasses someone of the opposite or same sex as that of the harasser.

What is spousal rape?

If you are a California resident who has been charged with raping your spouse, you should be aware that California takes this crime seriously. As set forth in Section 262 of the California Code, spousal rape is defined as nonconsensual sexual intercourse with your spouse that you accomplished under one or more prohibited circumstances. One such circumstance is that you perpetrated the intercourse through force, duress, violence, menace, or by putting your spouse in fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury.

Is sex addiction to blame in sex crimes?

With the inexplicable self-destructive acts of Anthony Weiner, which have culminated now his 21-month prison sentence for sexting, sex addiction certainly seems to be a plausible explanation. But the short answer to the question about whether sex addiction can take some or all of the blame for sex crimes is “maybe but probably not,” according to current standards.

Proposed law could remove some from sex offender registry

A bill has passed in the California Senate that would change the laws regarding sex offender registration. As the Los Angeles Times reports, although the state is typically tough on those convicted of sex crimes, the proposed law would end lifetime registration for sex offenders. Currently, California is one of only four states that require those convicted of sex crimes to register and check in each year for the rest of their lives after leaving prison. The other states are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The new law would allow those convicted of lower-level crimes and those deemed not a risk for recidivism to be removed from the list 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison.