A teenager in North Carolina was arrested and then prosecuted as an adult for allegedly having nude photos of himself on his own cell phone.
Cormega Copening, 17, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, struck a plea deal which allowed him to avoid being branded a sex offender. With the deal, he agreed to allow warrantless searches for a year.
Police found the nude photos during an investigation of teen sexting at the boy’s school. The investigation found that the boy wasn’t involved in the school incident, but when his images were found on his phone, he was arrested.
Images of the boy were also found on the phone of his 16-year-old girlfriend. The pair said they only shared the images with each other.
The boy was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing naked photos of his 16-year-old girlfriend. The girlfriend also took a plea deal on similar charges.
There were also consequences for the boy at school. He was suspended from his position as quarterback on the school’s football team during the investigation and prosecution.
The charge of sexting has brought criticism, though.
An expert on privacy issues told The Guardian that being charged for having photos of yourself on a cell phone should not be a crime.
“Kids should not be charged for that,” said Justin Patchin, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin. “And you don’t want kids to be sending such pictures to their significant others, but I don’t think it should be a criminal offense where there is no victim.”
Others told the paper that the prosecution of the teen was “ludicrous” and an “overreach.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at email@example.com.