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Jul 12 2014

Police Get Warrant To Photograph 17-Year-Old’s Erection

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A 17-year-old boy is facing two felony charges for sexting his 15-year-old girlfriend. The charges in question? Manufacturing and distribution of child pornography. If found guilty, the teen would be imprisoned and have to register as a sex offender. If that is not bizarre enough, police were recently granted a warrant to administer a chemically-induced erection and then take photos of the teen’s genitals. The police are creating child pornography in an effort to convict someone of child pornography.

Trey Simms, of Manassas, VA, has already had his cellphone and iPad confiscated as evidence. He’s also already been photographed in the nude as evidence. When he tried to refuse, police told him they would do it by force. However, at the time of the photos, Simms was, understandably, not aroused. This apparently created a problem.

The incident started when Simms’ girlfriend allegedly send him an explicit video. He responded with a video of his own, which the girl’s mother reported to police. According to police, the boy’s response wasn’t welcome. The case was originally dismissed earlier in the year based on a technically, but prosecutors refiled, and Simms was arrested. That is when the first round of erection-free photos took place. Apparently, however, his lack of an erection made it difficult to tie him to the offending videos. Prosecutors then demanded that the teen either plead guilty or face a second warrant for “pictures of his erect penis.” The erection would be induced by a chemical injection, after which a group of police would stand around to watch and photograph. Which, technically, is creating child pornography, exploitation of a minor, and child abuse. Police state that after obtaining the photos, “special software” would be able to compare the genitals in the photos and the genitals in the video to determine a match.

Under the wave of criticism, police announced that they would not act on the warrant – but failed to inform the boy and his family. Instead, the family found out from a reporter calling for comment. Certainly, forcing a teen to receive an erection and then photographing it would be a gross violation of his rights. And even though the police have stated they no longer plan to follow through, the fact remains that the warrant was granted in the first place.

If the case were to follow the law as it is currently written, then Simms would be found guilty. However, the law does not make exceptions for teenagers engaging in sexual behavior, does not take into account how technology affects teen sexuality, and also makes no exceptions for kids who take “nude selfies.” According to a recent study reported by Times, 54% of teens engage is sexting before the age of 18 – and very few of them know the implications of the law.

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