News broke Wednesday of yet another potential Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, this time involving a minor. The Daily Mail reported that Weiner was allegedly sexting a 15-year-old girl. Weiner has claimed it is a "hoax," but also told the publication, "I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position." One of the questions everyone is asking: Was what Weiner allegedly did illegal?
The alleged details of the case are lurid enough to make one’s skin crawl, but the answer to the question of legality is less clear-cut. First and foremost, these are still only allegations. He has not been convicted, let alone remotely close to charged, with anything regarding the claims that he texted with a minor, including allegedly sending the message "I would bust that tight p*ssy so hard and so often that you would leak and limp for a week."
Before 2011, New York didn’t have any specific sexting laws, and all offenses were covered under the state’s child pornography laws. But in 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation which addressed underage sexting, though it appears largely to have allowed prosecutors to avoid filing sex crime charges against minors who engage in consensual sexting.
In Weiner’s case, if it does prove to be true that he sexted with a minor, it’s likely that the child pornography laws still apply. Section 235 of the New York Penal Code specifically states that “A person is guilty of disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree when… by means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a minor… to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance, or sexual conduct for his benefit.” The law classifies this as a Class D Felony.
Weiner’s victim said to The Daily Mail that she did not want to press charges, but the New York District Attorney may choose to do so anyway.