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Police in Manassas City, Virginia made what many feel was a questionable decision: they obtained a search warrant that would allow them to take a teenage boy to a medical facility, give him a medication to induce an erection, and photograph his erect genitals. And no, this is not a joke.
According to a statement by the police department, they were contacted by the parents of a fifteen year-old girl who had been on the receiving end of some explicit video. Most significantly, it appears that the young girl in question may have asked the boy to not send it. Reports vary about whether the two were in a consensual relationship and as they are not being named, it is difficult to verify. Later reports have referred to the fifteen year old girl as the accused’s girlfriend. Her parents decided to involve the authorities, who investigated and decided in January of this year to charge the teenage boy with manufacturing and distributing child pornography.
Police from Manassas City announced last Thursday that they would not execute the warrant, but they do still intend to prosecute the case. Records indicate that police had previously been trying to obtain the same warrant, though its service was delayed due to filing issues and delays. Though the department claims these procedures are not standard, the repeated requests for the photograph seem to indicate otherwise. Are they convinced that the only way jurors will find him guilty is if they can objectively compare pictures of his penis to the video?
The laws regarding pornography in this country have not caught up with cultural changes. Specifically, in the case of teenagers photographing themselves nude or partially nude, it is sometimes ridiculous to charge them with a crime when they end up being their only real victim. In this case, there is the possibility that the girl receiving the images, also being a minor, was traumatized by the experience or did not consent to receiving the video.
Regardless of consent, it is clear that the act of taking and sending these pictures is illegal under federal child pornography laws. While it is important to investigate the situation and prosecute it if appropriate, it seems ludicrous to essentially re-create the crime in a more medical setting for the purpose of prosecuting it.
Photo Credit: Peterscode under public domain via Pixabay