Electronic transmission of sexually explicit images by minors; penalties. (SB607)

Introduced By

Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Electronic transmission of sexually explicit images by minors; penalties. Provides that a minor who (i) knowingly transmits, distributes, publishes, or disseminates to another minor an electronically transmitted communication containing a sexually explicit image of his own person or (ii) knowingly possesses at least one but not more than 10 electronically transmitted communications containing a sexually explicit image of another minor is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Read the Bill »


01/29/2018: Incorporated into Another Bill


01/09/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18103542D
01/09/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/17/2018Impact statement from VCSC (SB607)
01/22/2018Impact statement from DPB (SB607)
01/29/2018Incorporated by Courts of Justice (SB168-Stanley) (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)


Mary D. Devoy writes:

Teenagers who willingly or knowingly send or exchange sexual or nude photos or videos with other teens do not pose a threat to society. If no threat, force, intimidation, extortion, mass on-line posting or emailing or account hacking has occurred between teenagers then no criminal charges should be filed.

This years SB607 Patroned by Senator Scott Surovell is NOT the answer. It creates a new crime a Class 2 Misdemeanor, it uses the term minor so no one 18 or 19 years old is eligible, it sets a limit of 10 images and it won’t apply if there was a previous conviction then it could be charged as Child Pornography.

In Virginia there are misdemeanor offenses that mandate registration as a public Sex Offender on the VSP Registry.

By using the term ‘minor’ or ‘juvenile’ it excludes 18 and 19-year old’s who are in age appropriate relationships, they will be convicted of Child Pornography and labeled “Violent Sex Offenders” for life.

By creating a new misdemeanor offense even if registration as a Sex Offender is not mandated in Virginia, that does not mean it won’t be in another State. If the teen moves to one of the other 49 U.S. States and that States requires registration as a Sex Offender for a similar offense in their State then they will force the Virginia teen to register there. If this happened even if the teen returned to the Commonwealth because of the Interstate Compact they’d be required to remain a Registered Sex Offender for life here too.

The Virginia Legislature has a history of retroactively adding misdemeanor offenses to the list of conviction that require registration as a Sex Offender. The Legislature also has a history of taking sexual misdemeanors and increasing them to felonies which the Virginia State Police have retroactively applied to those on the VSP Registry.

2018’s SB607 is NOT the answer to decriminalizing Teen Sexting.

My Legislative Proposal (Goal #10: http://goo.gl/k0O5Vu)is still the best way to stop the prosecution of teenagers who consensually sext.

Adding a 4- year Age-Gap allowance w/ a minimum age (a floor) of 12 or 13 years old to Virginia’s Child Pornography Statutes § 18.2-374 of Production, Distribution/Dissemination, Solicitation and Possession. This way age appropriate relationships don’t get swept up as a criminal act. If preferred a maximum age of 19 or 20 years old could be included for those who believe a 17 and 21-year-old shouldn’t be in a relationship.

For those who think a floor of 12 years old is too low, go here http://goo.gl/MYB5Se to see how many kids are arrested every year in VA, the reality is this age group is sexting each other.

SB607 is a bad proposal.