Alaska does not currently have a specific statute or law addressing teen sexting. That is bad news in that any nude picture taken by an underage individual may constitute child pornography. (keep reading)
- What if you did not solicit or ask for the pictures?
- Teens accused of non-felony sexting in Alaska face prosecution in juvenile court.
- Juvenile court may issue a warning, or order probation, monitoring, incarceration, or other suitable punishment.
- If the accused has prior records, or found “Not amenable to treatment,” he or she will face prosecution in adult court.
- If tried as an adult, teens may have to register as a sex offender upon conviction.
Alaska sexting laws summary
In Alaska and under federal law, sexting between minors turns into a crime if there is the exchange of nude pictures. The state’s pornography laws also prohibit the possession of child pornography. That means a teen taking a picture of himself or herself is guilty of possession if he or she displays the image to any other person. The crime escalates into possession and distribution if the teen sends the image to another or more than one person. The teen or adult receiving the image (still or moving) -apart from possession- May face Solicitation and Distribution of Child Pornography if he or she asks for the photos, and then displays, or shares the image with a third party.
What all that means is, sexting in Alaska may lead to multiple charges, including felonies. Without laws to protect teens from child pornography charges, the simple act of creating and sharing an inappropriate picture could have lifelong consequences, including registration in the sex offender’s registry.
When does sexting become child pornography in Alaska?
Under state statute AS 11.61.127. a person is guilty of child pornography possession if he or she uses an electronic device with intent to view any material that aurally or visually depicts a child engaged in a sexual act. That means using a smartphone to solicit or store or display any image or audio of a child engaged in a sexual act, is a punishable offense.
AS 11.42.455 defines a child as anyone below 18.
What if you did not solicit or ask for the pictures?
Section 7 of the statute provides two affirmative defenses. (1) The accused possessed less than three photos. (2) The accused reported the photos to law enforcement or took reasonable steps to destroy the pictures.
What if an adult sends sexually explicit pictures to a minor?
Any picture or video, actual or simulated, sent to a minor that depicts sexual penetration, lewd touching of private parts, lewd exhibition of privates, sexual masochism, or sadism, constitutes Distribution of Indecent Materials to a minor. Note that the distribution of indecent materials to a minor is a class C felony in Alaska. If the accused has prior records, then he or she must register as a sex offender upon conviction.
What to remember:
- Possession of child pornography is a class C felony.
- Distribution of indecent materials to a minor is a class C felony.
- It is a federal crime to solicit sexual conduct from a minor using any electronic device.
- If the child depicted in the photos is prepubescent, there is a statutory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a twenty-year-plus guideline sentence.
- The punishment escalates if the accused has prior records.
- The age of consent in Alaska is 16, but anyone below 18 does not have the legal authority to create, possess, or distribute sexually explicit images.
Alaska sexting laws and online solicitation of a child
Under state statute 11.41.452. enticing a child below 16 to engage in sexual conduct is a class C felony. The crime escalates into a class B felony if the accused is a registered sex offender or has prior records.
Section 11.61.124 “Solicitation or Production of an Indecent Picture of a Minor.” States that a person is guilty of solicitation if the adult (18 years or older) asks, encourages, or entices a minor (below 16) to take pictures of his or her private areas. Section B, reads, “offender believes that the person is under 16 years of age and at least four years younger than the offender.” That means teens who solicit pictures or videos from prepubescent kids, may also face solicitation charges.
Soliciting a minor to create sexual conduct is a class C felony.
Teen or adult court?
In Alaska, any teenager above 16 who commits a class A felony, will face charges in adult court. Class A felonies in Alaska include sexual assault and murder. What about class C felonies?
The juvenile court aims to rehabilitate, not punish teens. Consequently, Alaska’s juvenile system is more flexible than adult court. What that means is teens accused of petty/ nonviolent crimes may get a court warning, or the division of juvenile justice may file a delinquency petition that may result in monitoring, probation, or incarceration at a juvenile facility depending on the offense committed.
Not amenable to treatment
If the teen has multiple records or the court finds that he is “not amenable to treatment.” The accused teen could face charges in adult court. Not “Amenable to Treatment” means that in the court’s opinion. The accused teen cannot be rehabilitated before turning 20 years.
In adult court, the teen will face adult punishment
A class C felony in Alaska such as child porn is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and or a prison term of up to five years. Upon conviction of a sex-related crime, the accused must register as a sex offender.
What sexting related crimes must register as a sex offender in Alaska?
Anyone convicted of a crime described in state statute 12.63.100 must register as a sex offender in Alaska. The list includes individuals found guilty of creation, possession, and distribution of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor to engage in sexual conduct.
What to remember
- The distribution of child pornography is a class B felony.
- If the accused has prior records, distribution escalates into a class A felony.
- The law does not require the prosecution to prove that the accused knew the minor nor the minor’s identity.
- Any property, including vehicles and electronics used to aid solicitation or attempted solicitation of a minor, may be forfeited to the state upon conviction.
Alaska sexting laws and non-consensual pornography
Under state law, it is a crime to view any nude or sexually explicit photo taken without the consent of the depicted person. It is also a crime to share or disseminate sexually explicit photos without the consent of the depicted person. That means revenge porn is a crime in Alaska, and so is sharing pictures of anyone taken under circumstances where there was a reasonable expectation of privacy.
What constitutes indecent viewing in Alaska?
Under state statute 11.61.123 (Revenge porn), a person is guilty of indecent viewing if the individual knowingly produces or views any nude or sexually explicit photo. A photo is indecent if it displays the genitals, female breasts, or anus.
If the person in the picture or video is a minor, the accused is guilty of a class C felony and a class A misdemeanor if the person in the image is an adult. The statute reads in part, quote,
“private exposure -means that a person has exposed the person’s body or part of the body in a place, and under circumstances, that the person reasonably believed would not result in the person’s body or body parts being (A) viewed by the defendant; or (B) produced in a picture; “private exposure” does not include the exposure of a person’s body or body parts in a law enforcement facility, correctional facility, designated treatment facility, or a juvenile detention facility; in this paragraph”
Alaska sexting laws and harassment
Under state law, an individual commits harassment in the second degree if the person, with intent to harass or annoy, the individual: (1) insults or taunts another in a manner that may provoke a violent response. (2) Fails to terminate a phone connection with the intent to impair the other person’s ability to receive or place calls. (3) repeatedly calls another at inconvenient hours. (4) Sends obscene electronic communications, makes anonymous calls, or uses an electronic device to threaten sexual contact or physical injury.
Harassment in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor in Alaska.
if you have been receiving unsolicited nudes, harassing phone calls, or obscene texts, you may take civil action against the offender or seek protection orders.
What to remember:
- Sending non-consensual sexts or nudes constitutes harassment in Alaska.
- Revenge porn is a felony if the victim is below 18.
- Viewing nude photos of a minor is a felony.
- Soliciting photos from a minor is a felony.
- Under federal law, soliciting or distributing child pornography across state lines or international borders carries a sentence between ten years to life.
- AS 11.61.127. “An Act Prohibiting Possession of Child pornography.”
- 11.61.123 “An Act Relating to Unlawful and Indecent Viewing and Photography and to Civil Damage and Penalties for that Viewing and photography”
Other Alaska Laws