UPDATE: Police Reverse Decision To Photograph Teen's Erection As Proof In Sexting Case
Updated Friday at 9:45 a.m. PST
Following the intense level of media attention surrounding the decision by Manassas police to force 17-year-old Trey Simms to allow them to photograph his erect penis as evidence in a "sexting" case, the Manassas police have reversed their decision.
Police in Virginia on Thursday backed off efforts to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old to prove a sexting case against him.
Police and prosecutors faced a wave of criticism following news media reports that they had obtained a warrant to take photos of the teen's erect penis. Police wanted the pictures to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time.
On Thursday, Manassas Police Lt. Brian Larkin said the Police Department will not proceed with the plan to take the pictures and will let a search warrant authorizing the photos to expire.
Privacy advocates had criticized the plan as a violation of the teen's constitutional rights.
The teen's aunt, who serves as his legal guardian, said she had not heard of the police department's reversal until contacted by an Associated Press reporter Thursday afternoon. She said she would be ecstatic if police follow through on their statement that they will no longer pursue the photos. But she said she won't be fully satisfied until the case against her nephew is dropped entirely.
Police in Manassas City, Virginia have apparently completely lost their minds according to a report from The Washington Post that reads like something out of The Onion.
Police are currently investigating a "sexting" case involving a 17-year-old boy, Trey Simms, and his 15-year-old girlfriend after Simms allegedly sent the girl a video of his erect penis.
While it's not surprising that this angered the girl's mother, the response by the police department is pretty astonishing.
According to The Washington Post:
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. A Prince William County judge allowed the 17-year-old to leave the area without the warrant being served or the pictures being taken — yet.
The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life.
No. You're not being punked. This is real. Police want to prove child pornography by forcing a child to basically pose for porn as "evidence."
“The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice,” said the teen’s defense lawyer, Jessica Harbeson Foster. “What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth? This is a 17-year-old who goes to school every day, plays football, has never been in trouble with the law before. Now he’s saddled with two felonies and the implication that he’s a sexual predator. I don’t mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don’t want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that’s traumatizing.”
Carlos Flores Laboy, appointed the teen’s guardian ad litem in the case, said he thought it was just as illegal for the Manassas City police to create their own child pornography as to investigate the teen for it. “They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner,” Flores Laboy said, “to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner. The irony is incredible.” The guardian added, “As a parent myself, I was floored. It’s child abuse. We’re wasting thousands of dollars and resources and man hours on a sexting case. That’s what we’re doing.”
Foster 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.”
Manassas City police released a statement on Wednesday night defending their actions thus far. You can read it here.
What's your take on this, Instincters??
(H/T: The Gaily Grind)