Teen sexting is a bad idea. We get that, and remind our audience often of the potential unintended consequences. A case playing out in Virginia this week highlights a number of things that are fundamentally wrong about how child pornography laws are written, and how they apply and are being applied in the real world.
Trey Simms, a 17 year old from Virginia, was charged with two sexting-related felonies in January – manufacturing and distributing child pornography – after allegedly exchanging explicit text messages with his then girlfriend, who was 15. The police used a warrant to seize his iPhone and iPad and collect the evidence.
First things first, they are both minors, and only Simms has been charged.
Second, what the police are reported to have done, and are planning to do, is horribly wrong in our opinion, as you can see in the video below.
According to Simms’ aunt, the police took Simms into a room and told him to disrobe so that they could take pictures of his genitalia. He tried to refuse, and the police told him that if he did refuse, they would do it by force.
That alone seems wrong, but one of Simms’ lawyers told NBC Washington that investigators now want Sims to strip again and become “aroused”, so they can have pictures to compare to the ones in evidence.
This is a 17-year-old boy we’re talking about here. Other that the NBC Washington story, a Google search shows that no other news outlet has covered the story yet (but Cafémom.com is talking about it here).
If convicted, Simms could face jail time and be put on the sex offender registry, a life sentence. This is so wrong, not to mention the gross invasion of privacy of the nude photos, and the upcoming, even more invasive request.
Please join us in trying to heighten awareness of how wrong this all is.
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