A teenage boy in North Carolina has been prosecuted for having nude pictures of himself on his own mobile phone. The young man, who is now 17 but was 16 at the time the photos were discovered, had to strike a plea deal to avoid potentially going to jail and being registered as a sex offender. Experts condemned the case as ludicrous. The boy was, however, punished by the courts, and had to agree to be subject to warrantless searches by law enforcement for a year, in addition to other penalties. The young man was also named in the media and suffered a suspension as quarterback of his high school football team while the case was being resolved. Cormega Copening, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was prosecuted as an adult under federal child pornography felony laws, for sexually exploiting a minor. The minor was himself. “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. Copening was charged with four counts of making and possessing images of himself and one count of possessing a naked image of his 16-year-old girlfriend. […]
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