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Teenager who took naked photographs of himself pleads guilty to child porn charge to avoid jail

Published 21/09/2015

Teengaer was prosecuted as an adult over nude pictures of himself
Teengaer was prosecuted as an adult over nude pictures of himself

A teenager in the United States, found with nude photos of himself, has been forced to plead guilty to possessing child pornography to avoid being registered as a sex offender.

The young man (17) was prosecuted as an adult at a North Carolina court last week over nude pictures of himself on his own mobile phone.

The minor was 16 at the time the photos were discovered, having taken them to share with his then 16-year-old girlfriend.

The 17-year-old boy was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing a naked image of his girlfriend.

His girlfriend took a plea deal after being prosecuted on similar charges for having naked, suggestive pictures of herself on her mobile phone.

The pictures were discovered when authorities were investigating a wider problem of sexual images allegedly being shared at school without the permission of the subjects involved.

The young man, who has named in the US media, was found not to be involved in that case.

He was later arrested for having his own and his girlfriend’s image, despite neither image having been shared further.

In North Carolina, minors over the age of 16 can be charged as adults when their crime relates to sexually exploiting children.

Therefore, in this case, the teen boy and his girlfriend were simultaneously the adult perpetrator who is considered a predator and the minor victim who needs protecting by the law.

Legal experts in the US have condemned the case, which saw the young man strike a plea deal to avoid going to jail and being placed on the state’s sex offender list.

“It’s dysfunctional to be charged with possession of your own image,” said Justin Patchin, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin and co-founder of the research website cyberbullying.org.

“In most states, these crimes are technically on the books but are not typically used to prosecute similarly aged teenage lovers under 18 who have shared images only with each other consensually,” Mr Patchin said.

“There are zero examples of under-18s being charged for having their own naked selfie in their phone.

“Kids should not be charged for that,” he said. “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.”

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