LANHAM, Md. (WNEW/AP) — A northern Virginia 17-year-old accused of ‘sexting’ his 15-year-old girlfriend could be forced to have his erect penis photographed as part of a search warrant obtained by police investigating the claims, according to a Washington Post report.
The teen, who lives in Manassas City, faces two felony charges — possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography. Sentences for those could include jail time as well as inclusion on the state sex offender registry.
The teen’s lawyers say the search warrant allowing the photographs has been authorized but not yet executed. They are fighting the warrant in court; a hearing is scheduled for next week.
Defense attorney Jessica Harbeson Foster tells The Post that the circumstances of the warrant would be “traumatizing” for her client and that she questions if the measure would be in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The teen’s appointed guardian ad litem, Carlos Flores Laboy, said his understanding is that police plan to do some sort of computer analysis of the photos to try and prove a similarity to the explicit photo found on the girl’s phone. He said the search warrant vividly demonstrates the importance of defending individuals’ constitutional rights against invasions of privacy.
“Doing this to an adult would be traumatic. We’re talking about a 17-year-old child. Doing it to a 17-year-old would be even worse,” he said.
A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed to serve as an advocate in certain juvenile cases.
The lawyers said police have told them they plan to obtain the photo by taking the teen to a hospital and injecting him with a chemical that would cause an erection.
The teen’s aunt and guardian has sent the young man out of state for the time being so the warrant can’t be executed.
“He’s overwhelmed. He’s scared. He doesn’t want to be in Virginia” because police could theoretically show up at any time to try to execute the warrant and take the photographs, she said.
Police have been pursuing the case since January, the aunt said, when the girlfriend’s mom discovered the explicit content.
She said prosecutors insisted on getting the photographs after her nephew turned down a plea deal that would have required a year of probation in which he would be forbidden from using a cellphone or the Internet. She was concerned that a slipup on probation — even a single use of a social media account like Facebook or Twitter — would leave him exposed to a felony record and a requirement to register as a sex offender.
Police and prosecutors did not return calls Wednesday afternoon seeking comment.
The Manassas City Police later posted a statement on its website saying that it is not their policy “to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case.”
The statement added that police were contacted by the mother of the 15-year-old girl “who was sent pornographic videos” by the 17-year-old “after repeatedly being told to stop.”
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