Prosecutors are seeking a court order to force a teenager charged in a “sexting” case to allow police to photograph his erect penis – even if that means injecting him with drugs to stimulate an erection.
The 17-year-old Manassas, Virginia, boy is accused of sending sexually explicit video to his minor girlfriend, reported the Washington Post.
The teen faces two felony charges, possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, and faces possible incarceration until he’s 21 years old and the possible lifetime inclusion on the state’s sex offender database.
The teen’s 15-year-old girlfriend — who has not been charged — sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, who then sent video that showed his erect penis, said the teen’s defense attorney.
The girl’s mother filed a complaint about the boy’s video, and he was served with petitions from juvenile court in February but not arrested.
Prosecutors forgot to certify that the teen was a juvenile when the case went to trial last month, and the case was dismissed.
But police immediately obtained new charges and a search warrant for the teen’s home, and they arrested the boy and took him to a juvenile detention center – where his attorney said officers took photos of the teen’s genitals against his will.
“He said they took him to a room and took pictures of his genitalia,” his aunt, Stacy Bigley told WRC-TV. “I asked if they’re allowed to do that, and he said, ‘I tried to refuse,’ which he did — he didn’t want to do it. They told him if he did not, they would do it by force.”
Defense attorney Jessica Harbeson Foster said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson urged the teen to plead guilty at trial, set for July 1, or police would seek another warrant for photos of his erect penis to compare against cell phone evidence.
Foster asked the prosecutor exactly how that would be accomplished.
“We just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need,” the defense attorney claims the prosecutor told her.
The teen declined to plead guilty, and the prosecutor requested a continuance so police could obtain the search warrant – which was granted by substitute Juvenile Court Judge Jan Roltsch-Anoll.
Another judge allowed the teen to leave the area to visit family, but he’s due back in court July 15.
Foster and the teen’s aunt said they don’t understand the lengths prosecutors intend to pursue in a juvenile sexting case.
“The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice,” Foster said. “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.”
The teen’s court-appointed guardian suggested it should be illegal for police to create their own child pornography to investigate a child pornography case.
“They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner,” said Carlos Flores Laboy, the boy’s ad litem guardian. “The irony is incredible.”
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