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?

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Comments on “Prosecutors In 'Sexting' Case Apparently Obtained Search Warrant To Photograph Teen's Penis”

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107 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: What THE FUCK!

Because some fuck stick corrupt court (SCOTUS) decided that Juveniles are NOT afforded protections from the Constitution and should be treated differently!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/27/AR2011022702969.html

Everything in that article shows why pulling a gun is soon getting necessary. No where will you find anyone punishing these people… and why not? Because the fucking courts themselves consider the officials to be IMMUNE!

The moment society said (through government) we require your children for 8 hours a day 5 days a week people should have started pulling the fucking trigger.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It doesn’t work that way:

…with the plan to “inject” him in a hospital…

As with involuntary drug searches at hospitals – “Drug Warriors Kidnap and Sexually Assault a Woman After Getting Permission From a Dog” – the hospital will no doubt bill the kid for this service.

Thus it’s the kid paying to produce even more child pornography, and they can charge him with that too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Don’t forget that ACA Richardson’s boss is Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert who was so prominently featured for withholding evidence in a capital murder case – http://www.popehat.com/2014/02/04/how-commonwealths-attorney-paul-b-ebert-touched-people/

Seems that the entire office is full of sick and twisted f*$ks

Michael (profile) says:

I presume they have taken these pictures so they can prove that the video is of his penis.

However, wouldn’t they need some kind of comparative sample? Don’t they need some sort of a line-up? Where are they getting the 5 other dick-pics that they are going to need as evidence that not all dicks look the same?

Oh wait, perhaps they are going to just include head shots of themselves as they all appear to qualify as total dicks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“However, wouldn’t they need some kind of comparative sample?”

One would think so. From teenagers no less, representative samples of ages and races, some older, some younger. In order to demonstrate the unique unambigous identification of the appendage at root of the case.

Grotesque. Risks of being a teenager are certainly different from my day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Asked and answered in the linked WP article:

“Foster [defence lawyer] said Detective Abbott told her that after obtaining photos of the teen’s erect penis he would “use special software to compare pictures of this penis to this penis. Who does this? It’s just crazy.””

I want to see that software stand up in court.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Isn't this technically rape?

… a medical procedure.

What Prince William County prosecutors seek here is not a medical procedure. Not. There is no medical reason to perform it. None. It would be unethical for any medical doctor to administer an injection to an unconsenting person in a situation that does not urgently threaten life.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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.””

What about the 15 year old girl? If that boy pushed charges against her and the police decided they wanted pictures of her, I bet the mom would drop charges pretty quickly…

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The complaining witness cannot “drop charges” regardless of how many TV shows claim otherwise. It is often difficult to make a case without the assistance of a complaining witness, but in this case, they have a video.

I was thinking the same thing, but from what I can tell, the pictures she sent to him were not of her fully naked. No nipple = no problem.

I could see being pissed that your daughter received a sex video from her boyfriend, but this seems like it could have been better handled by calling his parents and a couple weeks of grounding.

andypandy says:

Re: Re:

Damn it took 19 people before this comment, firstly why is the girl not in jail and being forced to have child porn made by the police of her. Not to sound too angry but i am fucking pissed off that in almost every case like this the boy is charged and the girl allowed to go on her way, and the biggest problem is the girl is the one who has distributed child porn to her mother who has viewed it and then distributed it to the police. I for one hope that this judge decides that both are guilty of a stupid action and neither be charged with anything but an investigation started into charges for the mother and the police that took child porn pictures.

Varsil (profile) says:

I’d be worried about the security of that photograph.

I’m a lawyer, and had a child porn case vanish against a client after an independent expert was able to show that in between seizing the hard drive and it going to the police expert, someone had made copies of all of the child porn material–someone with the police, but they didn’t know who.

That was a detail too embarrassing for open court, so they made the file go away.

Anonymous Coward says:

Worse than the original crime

You know, doesn’t the whole judicial process for this case seem to be WORSE than the original “crime?”

Instead of protecting the kids from each other, it seems like they need protection from this squarely fucked-up, poorly-contrived “process” (which is presumably being run by adults).

Anonymous Coward says:

The prosecutors are willing to break the law and manufacture child pornography themselves, in order to convict someone else for manufacturing child porn.

I think all three of them should go to prison. The girl, the boy, and the prosecutors. They’re all guilty of manufacturing child pornography. Whichever jail guards took the pictures of the boys penis, should go to prison too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Parenting Without Police

Learn it and live it! What has our society come to when parents consistently involve law enforcement and the judicial system in situations that they clearly should NOT be involved in? Really? Is it worse that the kids sent pics / videos to one another or that the boy ends up traumatized by law enforcement and the judicial system?

And what is it about the US that makes nudity, sex, and genitals such a major taboo? Why is an exposed female breast such a huge deal to us here in the US? You’d think we’d all learn to grow up and focus on more important issues and concerns both at a national and international level!

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Parenting Without Police

There are some horrible punishments that the parents themselves could apply.

One particularly brutally heinous punishment would be to take away the cell phone for six months.

Of course, such a thing might be construed as child abuse. And the parents would rather let the police deal with it. And imaging having to listen to…. “…but Moooooooom!!!”.

andypandy says:

Re: Parenting Without Police

Sadly madly in love teens like this are damaged for life, or just the boy. I can understand adults being charged and maybe persistent teens that have videos/pics of more than their present girlfriend but two people in love wanting to have pictures on their phones of each other is a childish and lovestruck idea, especially knowing of how many kids lives have been destroyed by this action in so many cases.

What I would be worried about is the police being so brazen as to seek to create more child porn , all involved in this decision need to be thourally investigated and maybe them forced to have medication to take pictures of their erect penis the female breasts and open vagina and open butt hole even if they have to open it with a cucumber damn do the same to the men you never know they might be interested in gay porn and take part in it. Then in any future cases they can compare them.

imafatguy says:

War on Men?

How can one underaged child (the boy) get charged with possession of child porn and production of child porn (sending video of his penis) but the underaged child (the girl) that sent the first child porn pic of herself (which is what gave the boy his possession of child porn charge) gets treated like the victim? Women are always the victims and men are always the perpetrators. Never equal in the War on Men.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: War on Men?

Re the girl – the linked article only says: “the teen’s 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old”. There is no indication that she sent anything explicit, anything unclothed or in any way indecent. We just have no information about that. I think the possession charge against the boy refers to the possession of his own video (zealous prosecutor throwing the book).

DannyB (profile) says:

An excellent use of taxpayer resources

Why is this even in court?

Why are taxpayers spending money, prosecutor resources, court resources in a case about something stupid two teens were doing?

Was any violent crime committed?

Oh, it was because the girl’s mom complained. Yet the girl sent her sexts first? Wow. Hypocrisy at its finest. It seems fair that whatever punishment the boy gets, including court ordered photographs of his goodies, the girl should also be subjected to. What would her mom say of that?

Socrates says:

Re: An excellent use of taxpayer resources

This mockery of justice seems to be most prevalent in former democracies that experience that both the mass media and the ruling body is derailed.

In Sweden all of the mass media falsified the list of parties that were running for parliament in EU. (The fifth largest party were absent).
And in Sweden one mother that documented that her daughter were raped and handed the evidence to the police lost the custody of the daughter to the raper, because the documentation were “child porn”.

In USA the mass media is even more of a joke, and the citizens seam to have lost any meaningful influence over anything with substance. It have all degraded to “democrats” vs. “republicans”.
USA have hundreds of thousands of unanalyzed rape kits; SWATing problems; attacks on journalists, occupiers, researchers; attacks on citizens performing exit polls; and numberless abuses of those that are defenseless, by those that should protect them, with impunity.

And it is getting worse, fast.

A solution that restores actual democracy is in dire need, before it is too late.

Anonymous Coward says:

So I have a question. Since this is a medical procedure to produce a specific piece of evidence, why can’t the trail be done first and if they are guilty (based on the assumption of the evidence being proven) do the procedure to after?

I mean if the judge doesn’t need this evidence for a conviction, it wouldn’t need to be done. Or if he is guilty based on this test coming out a certain way, he can plead out of the “procedure”. Why does it have to be done first?

Anonymous Coward says:

Follow the logic here to it's ultimate conclusion...

This is a video he made of himself and is only illegal because he is underage. Since according to this logic, an underage person is capable of committing the crime of sexually abusing himself, wouldn’t that make underage masturbation also, self inflicted child abuse? Furthermore, consider the percentage of people who when they were underage, ever masturbated, we effectively now live in a nation consisting entirely of unregistered sex offenders! Congratulations! You just made the entire population criminals of the worst order in the name of protecting the children!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Follow the logic here to it's ultimate conclusion...

“video he made of himself and is only illegal because he is underage”

Nope, it’s illegal because (a) it is a video of an underage person engaged in a pronographic act (b) he sent it to someone else. That is possession and distribution.

“we effectively now live in a nation consisting entirely of unregistered sex offenders”

Welcome, this planet is called earth. You probably won’t like it much but no-one will care.

Crazy Canuck says:

Aren’t there some kind of protection against that? Forcing an injection upon a person to get evidence? What’s next, injecting defendants with Sodium Pentothal to try to get them to disclose their computer passwords?

I understand that they currently allow taking DNA samples for evidence, but those usually only require a cheek swab or blood sample. The sampling is mostly non-invasive and the testing is done discretely in a lab. They are also taking from the body, not injecting a foreign substance into it.

I’m also assuming they don’t allow cameras filming or taking photos of a cavity search, so why should this be any different.

If I was this boy’s parent, I’d be raising all sorts of hell about how the system is treating him.

As a side note, I know the story is a little vague on details about the contents of the girl’s messages, but I have a feeling they weren’t that innocent either. I can’t see someone thinking that sending an explicit picture is a perfectly valid response to receiving a non-explicit message. If that was the case, why isn’t she receiving any flak. Also, does the boy not have any expectation of privacy for his message to his girlfriend? How is what the mother and system are doing to this boy any different from how cyberbullies make private pictures public to humiliate the victim?

Anonymous Coward says:

The reason it has to be done first is because someone in that police department is obviously aroused by the fact of generating child porn using official systems and processes and tax payers money.

Anyone that agrees to this is part of this twisted sick conspiracy and should be firstly banned from holding ANY sort of public office (the police AND the judge who agreed this was OK) and then formal charges by an outside enforcement agency should be brought to bear (so the police don’t have their own buddies investigating).

RonKaminsky (profile) says:

Would probably be garbage evidence, anyway

The prosecutor should certainly be aware that if they go through with this and photograph the teen’s erect penis, they better be able to justify it — that is, for a “match” between the penis in the video and the evidence collected to be significant evidence, there must have been studies done which quantify the likelihood of this match being falsely generated in some other way, like the teen browsing the net for penis videos which just look like his. Somehow I am doubtful that a lot of research has been done in this field, especially compared to DNA evidence or fingerprint evidence (and the quantitative research into both of those has come into question recently)…

So this is just another twisted attempt to force a plea bargain rather than going to trial, just like the more plebeian “piling on the charges”…

Tubal (profile) says:

Crowdfunding to pursue sanctions

It does seem like an attempt to force a guilty plea. I have no idea whether the actions of Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson (or others invovled) are subject to professional sanctions (disbarment), but I hope they are. I would gladly contribute to a Kickstarter or similar crowdfunding campaign that involved a reputable ethics attorney in Virginia pursuing any realistically proposed sanctions.

Contributing to such a campaign would seems far more worthwhile than the potato salad Kickstarter campaign that recently garnered over $40K. And, a campaign and any ensuing proceedings would/should rightfully place the parties in continued low regard, hopefully serving to thwart other similar overreaches.

Anonymous Coward says:

Your Honor,

I plead Innocent of all charges, furthermore if you order said pictures, I will let the media know of your “Public” order. Should you request a Gag order, I will of course appeal it on first amendment grounds.

I have no idea why the world would want to see this, nor any reason for it to be added to evidence of a crime seeing as you would only prove that I was the victim of my own creation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Eight Amendment of the US Constitution – Furman v. Georgia

‘The “essential predicate” is “that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity,” especially torture.’

Sounds like the defendant has an eight amendment claim to me. I can’t think of many thing that are more degrading to human dignity, than given a medical injection and having people gawk at your boner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Rick Horowitz summed it up nicely over at his blog:

That’s right, allegedly the boy willingly took a picture of his own penis, which police and prosecutors say is against the law because he’s underage. Taking pictures of the genitals of underage people, they say, is against the law; it constitutes creation of child pornography. It does not matter that — if true — it was the boy himself, alone by himself, who took the picture. It does not matter that — if true — the boy willingly obtained an erection, and willingly took the picture. That’s a teenage boy allegedly manufacturing and distributing child pornography. That’s against the law.

So now the police say the solution is to force the boy, against his will, to get an erection, a hard-on, a stiffie — while someone else watches, and someone else photographs — and then allow them to distribute the picture to others involved in the case. That’s the police and prosecutors actually manufacturing and distributing pornography. That’s apparently not against the law.

The girl who allegedly started the whole thing by sexting the boy in the first place, by the way, has not been charged, and there is no mention of any plans to forcibly strip and photograph her genitalia — aroused, or unaroused — in order to prosecute her and possibly label her as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

If you have any speech left, perhaps you should share it with the Manassas City Police Department.

Rekrul says:

I love their logic;

“In order to protect minors from having their lives ruined by sexual predators, we have to ruin their lives ourselves.”

Honestly, all common sense has left this country when it comes to sex!

And if they are determined to go ahead with the ridiculous charges against him, a much better and more reliable method of identifying him would be to focus on everything else in the video, such as the room behind him, the sheets on the bed, etc. I remember reading about a case where the cops tracked someone down simply based on the bedspread in his photos.

wallyb132 (profile) says:

This shit is unreal...

Hopefully this will get stopped on appeal. But I doubt it…

If I was the kids lawyer i’d be appealing this whole case and going after the prosecutor for selective prosecution. Why is the boy charged and not the girl. As the story made clear, the boy only made his video in response to the sending him a nude photo of herself. That makes her just as culpable in both manufacturing and distributing child porn. Not that I want to see the girl charged, but that may well be an avenue to get this dismissed.

These laws are out of control. they need to be amended to state something to the effect of, if the pictures or video’s were shared between 2 people in a consensual and legally permitted relationship, there is no crime. If other take the material distribute it, then they have are liable for their actions. But if the people involved didn’t create the material for the purpose of distributing it, and did not distribute it, they shouldn’t be charged.

This is just as bad as the 19 year old in North Carolina that was sent to federal prison for 18 months because he video recorded him and his 16 year old girlfriend having sex, the relationship was legal by NC law, and the girl consented to the video, he never distributed it, it was found on his phone during a different investigation. He should have never been charged.

These states are out of control. It seems like we have a bunch of fucking whack job Jack Thompson’s as DA’s

wallyb132 (profile) says:

An update to the story

An update to the story release yesterday says that the judge allowed the teen to leave the state. If the teens guardian was smart, they would leave him out of state until he’s 21. Juveniles cannot be extradited across a state line except in the case of murder, so moving him out of state keeps him out of the reach of the VA courts, unless of course they decide to charge him as an adult, but charging him as an adult creates a legal paradox, charging him as an adult for creating child pornography of himself, you cant protect his innocence as a child and persecute him as an adult for the same action…

David says:

Another update

Here is another update.

Quote: “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.”

If that seems contradictory to you, there is also information in the comment section that the case went on when the boy would not accept a plea deal for probation and one year without internet access.

So it would seem that the main purpose of the warrant was to blackmail the teen into foregoing his right to a jury trial for this nonsense and have him plead guilty rather than face rape.

So you can all relax: nobody intended any harm. It was just the good old “you fuck with us, we fuck with you” standard of Mafia and Department of Justice at work.

They could have burnt his house down with flash grenades and shot his pets instead of merely threatening to give a shot to his snake pet.

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