MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Talking about consent, sexting, and so on isn't a comfortable topic for parents, but with technology making these more pressing matters, a local lawyer wants to educate you, and your kids, on the legal responsibilities, with a free class Tuesday night.
Hartselle-based lawyer Patrick Caver is hosting Birds, Bees, and The Law at the Austin High School library at 6:30 Tuesday evening.
Caver says that virtually all of his juvenile court cases connect back to cell phones, teenagers, and sexual images and conversations.
He also points out, most people don't know the legal part.
"If a child take a picture of themselves with no clothes on, in Alabama thats called producing child porn, thats a class A felony," Caver explains. "It's the same class A felony as murder."
Plus, if that child is sixteen, they're charged as an adult and may have to register as a sex offender.
His class goes over the apps, the emojis, the lingo, and of course, the laws. He hopes to help parents catch up, and help both parents and teenagers understand that it's no laughing matter.
The goal, of course, is to discourage kids from participating in sexual activities or capturing or sharing sexual images, but he knows it's out there, whether parents want to admit it or not.
"I have some parents that say all the time, 'I don't want my kid to learn this stuff,'" said Caver. "I'm not saying anything in this class that, more than likely, you're teenagers don't know."
He says the most common reaction is "I didn't know that," both from parents and kids.
"The kids are doing it, but they do not know its illegal," he said. "Every class I’ve done, someone comes up to me and says ‘Really, I can get in trouble?'"
He says he's witnessed an unfortunate rise in sex crimes with teenagers, and hopes his legal advice will get parents talking about it, and have kids more aware of it.