30 November 2019

Teens convicted of exploiting themselves

As reported in The Guardian:
A teenage boy in North Carolina has been prosecuted for having nude pictures of himself on his own mobile phone. The young man, who is now 17 but was 16 at the time the photos were discovered, had to strike a plea deal to avoid potentially going to jail and being registered as a sex offender.

Experts condemned the case as ludicrous. The boy was, however, punished by the courts, and had to agree to be subject to warrantless searches by law enforcement for a year, in addition to other penalties.

The young man was also named in the media and suffered a suspension as quarterback of his high school football team while the case was being resolved.

[redacted], of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was prosecuted as an adult under federal child pornography felony laws, for sexually exploiting a minor. The minor was himself...

[redacted] was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing a naked image of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

His girlfriend, [redacted], took a plea deal after being prosecuted on similar charges for having naked, suggestive pictures of herself on her cellphone.

While the pictures were technically illegal, actual sex would not be – the age of consent for sexual intercourse in North Carolina is 16...

He was prosecuted for having his own and his girlfriend’s image, despite them not having been shared further...

The legal bind came because the two were over 16 and so could be charged as adults in North Carolina, as is common with some felonies – but the crimes they were being charged with related to laws against sexually exploiting minors.

Each was therefore simultaneously the adult perpetrator who is considered a predator and the minor victim who needs protecting by the law...

“There are about 10 or 12 mostly conservative states where they will prosecute kids for this,” said Lane, “and it’s a kind of moral values thing – they are trying to make an example of them because it’s believed to be inappropriate behaviour.


  1. How is this even possible? How can you be both defendant and accuser (in a sense at least)?

  2. How did anyone even know these pictures existed?

  3. Quoth - (whoever it was, cuz it wasn't Dickens) "The law is an ass"

    1. "It is easy to find reference works and websites that attribute the phrase to Charles Dickens, who put it into print in Oliver Twist, 1838. When Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, is told in court that "...the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction", replies:

      "If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass - a idiot".

      In fact, 'the law is an ass' is from a play published by the English dramatist George Chapman in 1654 - Revenge for Honour:

      Ere he shall lose an eye for such a trifle... For doing deeds of nature! I'm ashamed. The law is such an ass.

      'Published by' doesn't necessarily mean 'written by'. In 1653, Chapman's play was registered, as The Parricide, or, Revenge for Honor, to fellow playwright Henry Glapthorne. Some scholars contend that the play was the work of neither gentlemen and was written around 1620.

      Whoever the author was, we can be sure it wasn't Charles Dickens. However, it was Dickens who brought the phrase to the general public. Oliver Twist was an enormous success when it was first published as a serial and has become one of the world's best selling novels."

  4. Note that this case is from 2015, for what it is worth.

    Also FWIW, the comments (from the original article) note that the couple was black and a discussion ensues about the possibility of racism in these charges.

    1. Yes; came here to note this. It is difficult to believe that this could happen to white children. Society is terrified of the sexuality of young people, and more so of black people. I figured that it would take both for the legal system to bring such a stupid charge and then allow it to play out.

  5. If you think this is ridiculous, you could have deleted the names of the kids in your copy of the article....

    1. Excellent point, Nepkarel. Post amended accordingly.

    2. Thanks!

      It may feel small, but now you have created one google search result less that will follow these kids around for the rest of their lives.

  6. These are the crimes we *choose* to prosecute? 10 minutes with the IRS would lead you to a boatload of financial crimes that we *choose* not to prosecute. The world is really upsidedown.



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