Student Hit With 70 Criminal Charges After Exposing Himself During Yearbook Photo Shoot

from the another-school-outsources-its-disciplinary-processes dept

When will schools tire of involving law enforcement in routine disciplinary matters? Not soon enough, apparently.

Hunter Osborn, a senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ, did a "teen" thing. Prompted by other teens who enjoy a good bit of teen lowbrow comedy, Osborn slipped the tip of his penis over his waistband during the football team's photo shoot. Osborn and his crotch-level co-star went unnoticed as yearbooks and game programs containing his exposed penis were published and handed out.

The school, of course, was furious. Instead of handling its own problems, it decided to turn it over to law enforcement -- for reasons only completely understood by school administrators who believe "school discipline" is pronounced "police matter." Perhaps this overreaction was fueled by the school's own editorial lapse, as it only noticed the exposed penis in the photograph after Osborn bragged about it on "social media."

Insanity ensued.

[Osborn] faces 69 counts of indecent exposure, based on the students and staff who were present when the photograph was taken, and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors, according to Mesa Police Department spokesman Steve Berry. He said the investigation is ongoing.
One penis. (And not even a whole one.) 70 criminal charges. And that includes a felony that rubs elbows with producing and distributing child pornography. Never mind the fact that his "victims" (the 69 misdemeanor counts cover the teammates and staff involved in the photo shoot) included the same teammates who dared him to expose himself. And who also "exposed" themselves to him on repeated occasions with no complaints, as one particularly astute AZ Central reader pointed out.
As reader Jim McManus wrote, “This young man is being charged for exposing himself to his teammates during the picture taking, which no one noticed at the time. Approximately 15 minutes later he and all the people he ‘abused’ went back to the locker room and all took off their (clothes) exposing themselves to each other.”
Yes, there's a difference between expected penis exposure and surprise penis exposure, but the bottom line here is that many of Osborn's "victims" had seen his penis repeatedly. No one expects a penis in a group photo, but hey, peer pressure and stupidity can all be found in large quantities on the average high school campus. That the photo was published unaltered is unfortunate, but there's absolutely no reason law enforcement should have been brought in. And if law enforcement was summoned, officers should have told administrators to handle their own problems, rather than amuse themselves by tallying up 69 + 1 criminal charges.

Fortunately, after allowing insanity to have the run of the yard for a few days, rational thought was allowed to cautiously make its way back onto the propety. First, prosecutors dropped the ridiculous "furnishing harmful items to minors" felony charge.
In announcing that his office would not prosecute the felony charge against Hunter Osborn, Montgomery issued a statement reading: “An assessment of the available evidence for the felony charge of Furnishing Harmful Items to Minors, ARS 13-3506.A., leads us to conclude that the evidence does not establish a violation of the statute. MCAO has furthered review of remaining misdemeanor charges submitted by the Mesa Police Department for possible submittal to the Mesa City Prosecutor's Office.”
Shortly thereafter, prosecutors decided the 69 misdemeanor counts weren't worth pursuing either.
A Mesa police spokesman said Wednesday that the case against Hunter Osborn, 19, was returned to police for further investigation but that the case would be closed.
A good thing, too. A strict reading of the state's statute behind the single felony charge suggests Osborn could not have possibly violated it. Indecent exposure, maybe. But not furnishing harmful material to minors.
It is unlawful for any person, with knowledge of the character of the item involved, to recklessly furnish, present, provide, make available, give, lend, show, advertise or distribute to minors any item that is harmful to minors.
The only entities who performed any of the actions were the school and its photographer -- and neither of those did so knowingly.

Even though this ended relatively well, the sad fact is that if it had been handled with any sort of common sense, we never would have heard about it at all.


Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 10 May 2016 @ 3:36am

    Wow

    Wow, that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase. "Just the tip!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 3:43am

    Have they recalled all the offensive material, or was this just those in authority demonstrating that poking fun at them is like poking a bear with a stick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Paul Renault (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 3:45am

    I haven't closely read the law but...

    ..shouldn't "furnishing harmful material to minors" be something that the sugary soft drink companies be charged with?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:32am

      Re: I haven't closely read the law but...

      Seems like whoever printed and then distributed flyers showing a penis should be charged with furnishing harmful material to minors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re: I haven't closely read the law but...

        In the hands of a minor, pretty much anything could be considered harmful.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Keroberos (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: I haven't closely read the law but...

        Yep, which is the most likely reason that the charges got dropped. i'm quite sure any halfway decent defense attorney would have pointed out that the student was at best only guilty of the indecent exposure, it was the photographer who was guilty of manufacturing the image, the yearbook company of publishing it, and the school of distributing it--plus adding in the crime of exploitation of a minor. So, of course they are dropping it--we wouldn't want to ruin the lives and careers of a bunch of adults now would we? We only like to do that to the kids.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 6:23am

      Re: I haven't closely read the law but...

      only when it benefits those in charge does it mean that. Otherwise it is no harm no foul because we say so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:25am

    I'm guessing this is just another prosecutor trying to make a name for himself or herself by "winning" another case. They'll probably drop all but one of the charges if he pleads guilty and won't get any prison time. But hey, it will still be considered a "win" for the prosecutor, and that's all that matters, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:30am

      Re:

      If you had read the article, you would not have guessed wrong....
      A Mesa police spokesman said Wednesday that the case against Hunter Osborn, 19, was returned to police for further investigation but that the case would be closed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:28am

    69 Dudes!

    Who were the investigators, Bill & Ted?

    https://youtu.be/XsC8zEgZEfo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:34am

    If photographing any part of a minor's genitals is considered child pornography, wouldn't the photographer be guilty of producing child pornography? And would the school not be guilty of distribution of child pornography for republishing the picture on multiple occasions?

    If I was the boy's parent, I'd certainly be considering using those charges as a club to pound some sanity into school officials.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 6:25am

      Re:

      easier to go after a student than an adult who might actually know the law and be able to defend themselves.

      I doubt the schools reaction had anything to do but spite towards the student for making them look bad.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        Legally speaking, Arizona schools are subject to mandatory reporting requirements - Teachers and administrators are legally _required_ to report possible instances of abuse to law enforcement, and this would - for better or for worse, fall squarely into that category.

        The school didn't have a good option available. They did the "right" thing by complying with their mandatory reporting requirements.

        What happened from there is on the local police department.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 12:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How does this qualify as a possible instance of abuse?

          Then again, what isn't indicative of a possible instance of abuse? If they're mandated, they should be forced to report students who raise their hands too quickly or too slowly in class, and anything less than B- schoolwork.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        Legally speaking, Arizona schools are subject to mandatory reporting requirements - Teachers and administrators are legally _required_ to report possible instances of abuse to law enforcement, and this would - for better or for worse, fall squarely into that category.

        The school didn't have a good option available. They did the "right" thing by complying with their mandatory reporting requirements.

        What happened from there is on the local police department.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      "If photographing any part of a minor's genitals is considered child pornography, wouldn't the photographer be guilty of producing child pornography? "

      The student was 18 at the time the picture was taken.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ghenghiz, 10 May 2016 @ 4:35am

    A: How many misdemeanor charges did you pin on that penis popper?
    B: 69.
    A: Niceeee
    *high fives all around*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:40am

    classic case of "wardrobe malfunction"

    case closed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 5:30am

    The line break of this sentence...

    "And that includes a felony that rubs
    elbows with producing and distributing child pornography."

    ...was pure comedic gold.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drewdad (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 5:35am

    Shouldn't the photographer be prosecuted?

    After all, he or she took a picture of a (presumably) underage boy's penis and then distributed it.

    Whomever is in charge of printing and handing out the programs and fliers should be prosecuted for distributing child pornography.

    Riiiiiiight?


    Meanwhile, the "victims" of this "crime" never reported the incident, or possibly even noticed. This is like saying "we're all naked under our clothes" and then prosecuting us all for indecent exposure....


    Crap. I probably just gave the authorities a new idea on how to conduct warrantless searches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 11:18am

      Re: Shouldn't the photographer be prosecuted?

      It wasn't reported here on Techdirt, but the kid was over 18 at the time the pic was taken.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 6:35pm

        Re: Re: Shouldn't the photographer be prosecuted?

        It wasn't reported here on Techdirt, but the kid was over 18 at the time the pic was taken.

        These days that makes him an adult and therefore a pedophile predator as well. Get a rope!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 6:20am

    contempt of school apparently has more weight than contempt of cop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 10 May 2016 @ 7:04am

    Really?

    If their gym showers are anything like my high school's, they're prison style - everyone in one big room. So I'm sure he's "exposed" himself to countless underaged boys before. So funny that they are concerned about that now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 7:15am

    John Oliver.
    Dick Pics.
    Look it up. Or don't. ( :p )

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JBDragon (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 7:19am

    I remember back in High School, so long ago, We had a graduating class photo taken. So it was a pretty large group of people, and the Jocks were in the middle kind of back, but 6 or so of them decided to do the whole finger thing. Of course that was blocked out with a small white circle on each of their hands. I don't even remember what the end result of that was.

    There's always 1 or more of them in a group ready to do something I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 8:12am

    Even though this ended relatively well, the sad fact is that if it had been handled with any sort of common sense, we never would have heard about it at all.

    No such a thing in our systems sir. But we've heard you produced a calendar with nudes of yourself a while back from our super effective surveillance dragnet that solves all crimes and terrorisms. Hee hee. - law enforcement creep

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 8:58am

    Sixty nine accounts of indecent exposure.

    Indecent exposure to a rat
    Indecent exposure by a cat
    Indecent exposure on the sea
    Indecent exposure in a tree

    Indecent exposure here and there.
    Indecent exposure everywhere!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TripMN, 10 May 2016 @ 9:16am

    Lets keep this quiet by singing it from the rooftops


    Even though this ended relatively well, the sad fact is that if it had been handled with any sort of common sense, we never would have heard about it at all.


    The Streisand Effect relies on people not having common sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 9:28am

    I've probably have seen more in a Sears catalogue. Hunter Osborn, I'd guess his fifteen minutes aren't up yet. Typical American knee jerk reaction by the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glen Foster, 10 May 2016 @ 9:51am

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the spineless school administrators found out the state wouldn't do their dirty work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      The dirty work is done.
      This is likely the result they most hoped for. Law enforcement makes a massive overreaction and causes him all sorts of grief and then backs off before the backlash comes on too strong.

      You think this prank will be happening again at this school any time soon?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re:

        Knowing what I do about High School Football players? It'll happen again, probably for the press coverage the next time around.

        It's not like 15-18 year old wannabe alpha males are known for their sound judgement and logical thinking.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re:

        I would hope the students would grief and harass the faculty responsible with more pranks. Not harmful pranks mind you but annoying ones to show they will not allow themselves to be bullied.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Oblate (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Using a fake 'member', this prank will be done next year but by the Cheerleaders.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 11:22am

    Weiner

    Yet the news ran Anthony Weiner 24/7

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Weiner

      A political figure who some news companies wanted to ruin.

      This was a boy of no importance.

      Though we do like to ruin their lives if they're non-white or too poor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CharlieBrown, 10 May 2016 @ 7:47pm

    What a bunch of dicks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2016 @ 12:20am

    To paraphrase an old Latin proverb "penis volant, photo manent". On the off chance of a worst case scenario, dude gets to see many more pricks. :P
    Also 69 charges...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    YOU FUCKING IDIOTS, 11 May 2016 @ 9:48am

    Fuck Em

    His only way out will be to join the military and go get shot for his country. We have an old saying for the dicks who can't understand the humor in antics like this, "Fuckem if they can't take a joke."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Clyde (profile), 11 May 2016 @ 9:53am

      Re: Fuck Em

      Yeah, and on the same page, was there a monkey masturbating? Because they're protected from prosecution for joking around. But what about the sap who photographed it? Clearly, he thought it was funny?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Terrence the Goat, 11 May 2016 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re: Fuck Em

        And when a politician lies to the world and gets called up for it, shouldn't that person be charged with 7,000,000,000 counts of lying and violating oath of service?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sue Em, 11 May 2016 @ 10:03am

    In the old days

    I believe it was a Pennies Catalog that had apparently accidentally shown a male models junk dangling from a pant leg of brief underwear in the 1970s. The model sued for millions and Pennies (I believe it was) started buying back every issue of that catalog for $25.00 US ea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    G Willickers, 11 May 2016 @ 10:23am

    Violations of Oaths of Office

    Shouldn't politicians who lie to the world on international media be charged 7,000,000,000 counts of deceit and violations of Oath of Office?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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