TAMPA, Fla. - TrueTeenBabes.com, a website based in the Pinellas County Bay area, has been targeted by a new law because it features 13- to 17-year-old girls in lingerie and G-strings.
The law makes it a third-degree felony for teen-modeling agencies to "distribute on the Internet pictures of minors in provocative circumstances."
Gov. Charlie Crist signed the law into effect Wednesday.
Lawmakers say TrueTeenBabes.com's photos are "borderline pornography," but the operators of the website say the pictures are "glamour photographs" and parents have to sign an agreement before payment - up to $100 an hour.
Sen. Mike Fasano, R-Fla., was instrumental in forging the new law.
"True Teen Babes: That was the one that was brought to our attention," Fasano said. "We have an obligation to protect those children if their parents aren't going to."
The state attorney's office was looking into charging the photographer but was unable to locate any current law violations, Fasano said. This was the genesis for Fasano's support of the bill.
"Taking pictures of a 13-year-old girl in a bathing suit or less than a bathing suit and broadcasting that picture on a website where it's downloaded and purchased by sick pedophiles, then I believe that is against our community standards," Fasano said, adding that the photographer should be "prosecuted to the fullest."
Fasano said he believes that a federal court would agree. Apparently, the photographer for True Teen Babes thinks the same and plans to leave Florida.
Michael Allen, a constitutional-law professor at Stetson University, said he doesn't think the new law will stand up in federal court because it "infringes on the First Amendment right to freedom of expression" and is "too broad and vague."
Fasano disagreed, saying he believes the photos violate the community's obscenity standards.