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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Father to two teenagers, Michael, didn’t want to give us his last name, but wanted his son’s sexting story told in order to raise awareness.
“I was kind of shocked, surprised and caught off guard,” he said.
Earlier this year, he and his wife caught his 14-year-old son sexting.
“Some of the messages came across his iPad and his mom discovered it,” said Michael.
And when Michael alerted the school, he was shocked to find out that his son, under Colorado laws, has committed a third-degree felony. But the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office told Michael there was a way out.
“They basically said the deal is off if you get a lawyer and if you participate in this class willingly, that will be [a] good way to protect your kid from these charges,” he said.
Michael placed his son in a class called Sexting Solutions. It was put together by clinical therapist Cheryl Kosmerl after the D.A. reached out to her for an alternative eye-opening program.
“The class is all about stopping all forms of abuse and building better boundaries,” said Kosmerl. She said parents attend only the first and last class. Boys and girls don’t attend class together.
“The motivation behind sexting for boys and girls is different. From what I have found from my cases, is that the boys reasoning are that they want a naked picture. But, for the girls, it’s more of ‘I loved him and I thought it would take my relationship to another level,’” said Kosmerl.
So far, 148 students have gone through the program and not a single one has reoffended. The D.A. said the program is giving teenagers a second chance rather than a record.
“The law that we could bring against teenagers involved in sexting was grossly disproportioned to the conduct itself,” said 1st Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir.