NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) – Pasco County deputies started their workday training on an issue that’s unfortunately become pretty common. According to deputies, they handle several sexting cases a week. A new law, on the books since October, makes the punishment for first time juvenile offenders less severe.
“We want to make sure juveniles aren’t suffering long term consequences,” Sgt. Jennifer Zoccoli said. “If these images go viral it could follow them around their entire lives. They could start a career ten years down the road and have the employer say, ‘I don’t know. I saw that sexting stuff. I’m not sure I want that kind of employee.'”
Zoccoli showed officers a presentation on how to deal with everything from documenting the offense, to how you know if you should call a youth specialist. If a minor gets caught sexting, he/she could get a $60 citation and community service.
“We even have young people doing this in middle school,” Zoccoli said. “They think it’s funny and that it’s a game and don’t realize it has serious consequences.”
John Sheridon is a teacher and a father. He tells News Channel 8 it doesn’t surprise him that younger kids are starting to send graphic messages.
“You would be shocked at the things we see,” Sheridon said.