Feb 12, 2015, 9:45 PM ET
Kentucky's highest court considered on Thursday whether teen-agers should be treated as criminals when they have sex and send nude photos to each other. Here are some of the key questions being asked in the case:
IS CONSENSUAL SEX BETWEEN TEENAGERS A CRIME?
In many states, yes. The age of consent in Kentucky, for example, is 16, meaning that anyone younger cannot legally have sex, no matter how willing they are. Many states have "Romeo and Juliet" laws that protect some teens from prosecution when they engage in consensual sex.
BUT AREN'T TEENAGERS ENTITLED TO PRIVACY WHEN IT COMES TO SEX?
The boy's lawyer says yes, but authorities were called by the girl's mother in this case after the young couple texted nude photos to each other. She found the images on her seventh-grader's phone, learned she was having sex at home with her eighth-grade boyfriend, and sounded the alarm.
WHEN UNDERAGE CHILDREN HAVE SEX, CAN BOTH BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME?
In theory, the 15-year-old boy's mother also could have called police and demanded that his 13-year-old girlfriend be prosecuted. His lawyer argues that his right to equal protection under the law was violated when the state sent him, but not her, to a secure youth center as a sex offender.
DO MANY OTHER TEENAGERS FACE THIS RISK?
The boy's lawyer cited a nationwide study in 2013 that found about one-third of all U.S. adolescents are sexually active by age 16.