By Bernie on 25 Mar 2011
Photo Credit: Capitol Hill Blue
My readers may recall my September 2009 article about scumbag District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. who wanted to prosecute preteen girls as sex-offenders because of so-called sexting. The images sent to friends' cellphones were certainly not indecent except in the perverted, filthy mind of the prosecutor.
Here is the update since then:
The D.A. offered to drop the felony charges to those students who appeared in the photographs and those who had received them on their cellphones if they agreed to attend a sexual harassment program designed by the prosecutor himself. Seventeen of the students accepted his ridiculous offer, but 3 girls and their parents refused and filed a lawsuit against Skumanick [Miller, et al. v. Skumanick PDF] in Federal Court with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania alleging that he violated their First Amendment rights with his threat of prosecution over their refusal to take his course.
The girls and their parents won a ruling blocking Skumanick who is appealing [PDF].
Legislators need to de-criminalize sexting and instruct prosecutors to mind their own business - this is not a matter for law-enforcement, this is a matter between parents and their children.
Addendum: Who says there's no justice in the world? Thankfully asshole George Skumanick Jr. is no longer the district attorney (2).
CBS, 27 Mar 2009, Sexting Girls Facing Porn Charge Sue D.A.
One summer night in 2007, a pair of 13-year-old northeastern Pennsylvania girls decided to strip down to their skivvies to beat the heat. As Marissa Miller talked on the phone and Grace Kelly flashed a peace sign, a third girl took a candid shot of the teens in their white bras.
It was harmless, innocent fun, the teens say.
But the picture somehow wound up on classmates' cell phones, and a prosecutor has threatened to charge Miller and Kelly with child pornography or open lewdness unless they participate in a five-week after-school program followed by probation.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to block Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. from filing charges, saying that the teens didn't consent to having the picture distributed, and that in any event the image is not pornography.
"There was absolutely nothing wrong with that photograph," said Marissa's mother, MaryJo Miller, 44, of Tunkhannock.
"I certainly don't want pedophiles looking at my daughter in her bra, but I don't think that was the intention to begin with," she said in an interview with The Associated Press. "This is absolutely wrong on his part. It's abuse of his authority."
The Times-Tribune, 4 Nov 2009, Wyoming County district attorney falls in election
The George Skumanick Jr. era of the Wyoming County district attorney's office is over.
The incumbent Republican lost his bid for a sixth term as top prosecutor when he was upset by Democrat Jeff Mitchell.
A jubilant Mr. Mitchell was admittedly "shocked."
Asked if the issue [sexting] might have played a role in the election's outcome, Mr. Mitchell said he believed many people thought Mr. Skumanick's actions "became too much of a media circus."
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