TX Drops “Sexting” Charge Against Teacher After Court Says It’s Free Speech


A Texas prosecutor has dropped a charge against a teacher, 30, who exchanged 688 text messages in six days with a student, 13, many of them sexual, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The messages — known as “sexting” — included descriptions of sexual preferences and fantasies and discussions of dreams about each other, the affidavit says.

The charge was dismissed after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a 2005 statute, which made sexually explicit online communication between an adult and minor illegal, violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The court examined the case of John Christopher Lo, who was arrested in 2010 after being accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a student he met while working as a choir director in a school district outside Houston. “It's OK for adults to talk dirty to children,” said Mark Bennett, the Houston attorney who defended Lo. Bennett had argued that the statute is too broad because “simple profanity or vulgarity — not rising to the level of obscenity — is constitutionally protected speech.” Lawyers for the state contended that without the law “perverts will be free to bombard our children with salacious emails and text messages.”

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