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A 16-Year-Old Girl Is Facing Child Pornography Charges for Making a Sex Video of Herself

Maryland’s highest court will soon decide whether a 16-year-old girl, “S.K.,” can face child pornography charges for taking a video of herself performing a sex act and sending it to a few of her close friends.

S.K. shared the video, in which she performs consensual oral sex on an unidentified male, with two close friends and fellow students, who later reported her to the school resource officer. S.K. was the only person charged in connection with the alleged crime.

The Special Court of Appeals upheld S.K.’s conviction, ruling that the consensual nature of the sex act in question was irrelevant, as was the fact that it was not illegal for S.K. to perform the act. Taking a video of the act and sending it to other people constituted distribution of child pornography, according to the court’s decision.

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution did not protect conduct of a minor who distributed a digital video file of herself engaged as a subject in consensual sexual conduct,” wrote the court.

The Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling is expected later this year. The court, which is Maryland’s equivalent of a state supreme court, heard oral arguments in February. The proceedings are recorded here. S.K.’s attorney, Public Defender Claudia Cortese, argued that the statute in question was not intended to punish minors for being featured in pornographic materials, but rather, to protect them. Punishing S.K., as the state has attempted to do, is cruel and authoritarian.

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