Texas appeals court approves sexually explicit messages to minors online

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court ruled Wednesday sexually explicit images can now be sent online to children from other minors and even adults. That includes sexually explicit text messages.

In a unanimous decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down a section of a 2005 law designed to prevent predators from using the internet to lure children. The court said the law was so general that it violated the first amendment right to free speech.

Mark Bennett was the attorney who argued the case. He understands why parents could be upset, but says the court made the right call.

"The court of appeals is the ultimate arbiter of this," said Bennett. "The court has never created a category of unprotected speech that includes what was a forbidden by this particular section of Texas Penal Code."

But parents Local 2 spoke to are concerned predators will use the ruling to victimize children.

"Some creep will find a loophole," said father, Milton Green. "They will find a loophole and try to do whatever they can."

"It's very difficult to police everything as a parent," adds mom Anna Lee Pappas. "It would be nice to know that the law was in your favor."

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