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The Pulse

Teen gets more than he bargained for after ‘sexting’ his girlfriend

The case should serve as a stark reminder to teens that “sexting” equals pornography in the eyes of the law, and that pornography involving people under 18 is very illegal.
Thu Jul 10, 2014 - 5:17 pm EST
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The case should serve as a stark reminder to teens that “sexting” equals pornography in the eyes of the law, and that pornography involving people under 18 is very illegal.

A 17-year-old Virginia boy is likely regretting his decision to send a lewd video of himself to his 15-year-old girlfriend after the girl’s mother handed the video over to police.  Now, the boy has been arrested and charged with two felonies – manufacturing and distribution of child pornography – that could land him in jail until he’s 21, and mark him as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.

As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the police department investigating the case has asked the court for permission to photograph the boy’s erect penis in order to compare it to images taken from the teen’s cell phone.  When asked how they planned to force the boy’s arousal, investigators said they would take him to a local hospital and give him an injection if necessary. 

However, the teen’s guardian ad litem in the case, Carlos Flores Laboy, told the Washington Post that if it was illegal for the boy to film his own genitals, then it should be just as illegal for the police to do it. “They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner. The irony is incredible,” Flores Laboy told the paper. “As a parent myself, I was floored. It’s child abuse.”

According to the boy’s aunt, Stacy Bigley, who spoke to NBC Washington, police have already photographed the boy’s genitals against his will once, when he was first arrested.

“They took him to a room and took pictures of his genitalia.  I asked if they're allowed to do that, and [the boy] said, ‘I tried to refuse,’ which he did, he didn't want to do it,” Bigley said. “They told him if he did not they would do it by force.”

On Wednesday night, spokeswoman Adrienne Helms of the Manassas City Police Department issued a statement saying:  “It is not the policy of the Manassas City Police or the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case.  Beyond that, neither the Police Department nor the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office discusses evidentiary matters prior to court hearings.”  She said the department would not be responding to further press inquiries while the case is still active.

The boy reportedly sent the lewd video in response to sexually explicit images his girlfriend sent him of herself.  The girlfriend, however, is not being charged.  

The case should serve as a stark reminder to teens that “sexting” equals pornography in the eyes of the law, and that pornography involving people under 18 is very illegal.  Further, it should serve as a reminder to everyone that pictures and video sent by electronic means are never private.  (If you need more proof, just ask Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman from New York.) 

MORE: Personalized pornography: the explosive growth of ‘sexting’ among teens


  pornography, sexting

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