HB229, now Act no. 26 amends the Harassment Statute, Section 2709 of the Crimes Code to define cyber harassment of a child and makes it a misdemeanor of the third degree to use electronic communications to repeatedly make statements or offer opinions about a child’s sexuality or sexual activity or make statements that significantly ridicule, demean or cause serious embarrassment to a child under the circumstances.
Cyber Harassment of a Child is now a misdemeanor of the third degree. This allows intervention by law enforcement and juvenile probation officers who would initially review the case if it involved a juvenile offender. If appropriate, the case will be referred to juvenile court or the juvenile offender could be placed in a diversion program. An adult who engages in such conduct will be prosecuted in court, rather than be issued a summary citation, reflecting the seriousness of this form of child abuse.