Prosecutors In 'Sexting' Case Apparently Obtained Search Warrant To Photograph Teen's Penis
from the combating-child-porn-by-creating-forced-child-porn dept
Julian Sanchez alerts us to a crazy story in the Washington Post (which, it should be noted, appears to be sourced from one side of the case, so recognize the potential bias), accusing prosecutors in a “sexting” child porn case of going so far as to get a search warrant to take a photograph of the defendant’s “erect penis” in order to compare it to the one in a video he sent his girlfriend.
A Manassas City teenager accused of ?sexting? a video to his girlfriend is now facing a search warrant in which Manassas City police and Prince William County prosecutors want to take a photo of his erect penis, possibly forcing the teen to become erect by taking him to a hospital and giving him an injection, the teen?s lawyers said
Like many other similar cases, this involves two teenagers sexting each other. We can all admit that this is a rather stupid thing to do, but it would be crazy not to recognize that this happens quite frequently with teens these days. It’s already a pretty big stretch to try to twist those cases into “child porn” cases, but various prosecutors have been doing exactly that for years now. In this case, the 15-year-old girlfriend sent her 17-year-old boyfriend a photo of herself, and he sent back the video. The mother of the girl complained, and prosecutors went after the boy for “two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography.”
If that already seems fairly questionable, prosecutors apparently decided to take things to the next level when the boy refused to plead guilty:
The male teen was served with petitions from juvenile court in early February, and not arrested, but when the case went to trial in juvenile court in June, Foster said prosecutors forgot to certify that the teen was a juvenile. The case was dismissed, but police immediately obtained new charges and also a search warrant for his home. Police also arrested the teen and took him to juvenile jail, where Foster said they took photos of the teen?s genitals against his will.
The case was set for trial on July 1, where Foster said Assistant Commonwealth?s Attorney Claiborne Richardson told her that her client must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant ?for pictures of his erect penis,? for comparison to the evidence from the teen?s cell phone. Foster asked how that would be accomplished and was told that ?we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.?
The teen declined to plead guilty. Foster said the prosecutor then requested a continuance so police could get a search warrant, which was granted by substitute Juvenile Court Judge Jan Roltsch-Anoll.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, what we have is (1) two teens (stupidly, but not that surprisingly) sending each other revealing photos/videos of each other in a consenting manner that could be seen as “child porn” solely based on their age and (2) law enforcement forcing the boy to create more such “child porn” in an effort to pressure him into pleading guilty to two felony child porn charges. How does that make any sense at all? Can anyone actually claim that the “forced” photo by police and the followup search warrant, with the plan to “inject” him in a hospital to photograph his erect penis, is somehow less problematic than the original sexting video?