Tuesday night, the Shawano Common Council approved amending its ordinance pertaining to minors and the penalties they face by sexting. With the previous ordinance, authorities only had the option of criminally charging the offending minors, which could be detrimental to them for the rest of their lives.
“When we were getting complaints, we’d have to investigate them and the only recourse that we had to give them consequences, if we wanted to go that route, was to charge them criminally with felony sex offenses, which would put them on the sex offender registry list, possibly for life,” explained Shawano Interim Police Chief Dan Mauel. “It just wasn’t an appropriate penalty.”
With the new ordinance, it allows police another avenue, which would be to bring the case to municipal court, similar to a traffic citation.
“We understand kids will be kids and some of the things that they’re passing is technically child pornography, it’s a sexual offense, and we just want the option to give them a consequence without ruining their whole life,” said Interim Chief Mauel.
The ordinance applies to minors only, who would face fines of $313 for a first offense and $565 for a second offense.