The decision is due to the laws in North Carolina with regards to the illegality of sexting between minors.
A North Carolina judge has now ruled that it is a crime for two consenting teens to take part in sexting one another, in a case that resulted in an adolescent’s ban from using mobile phones during a full year of probation.
The individual in question is a 17 year old in high school who plays football and was caught up in a legal disaster.
The North Carolina teen found himself caught up in a legal battle that started with allegations (not against him) of the statutory rape of a local girl who was 14 years old at the time. This accusation brought about a widespread sweep of mobile phones that was conducted by the Sheriff’s department. It was during that sweep that the 17 year old high school student had his smartphone checked by the police.
At that the time when the mobile phones were being checked as a part of the legal sweep, the boy was 16 years old.
He attended Douglas Byrd High School in the state and at the time, his girlfriend sent him a sexy picture of herself. He replied with his own similarly themed picture, as a common response from a teen boy whose girlfriend was showing sexual interest in him. Neither the boy nor his girlfriend shared any of the sexting photos with any other person – which is rare and was quote a positive element of this otherwise unpleasant case.
Unfortunately, when the police checked the boy’s phone as they investigated the separate statutory rape case – in which he was not a suspect and is still not believed to have been involved – they discovered the various sexting photos. This brought about five charges of felony against the boy. Four were for having sexually exploited himself, a minor, and one was for having a picture of his girlfriend, who was also a minor.
Due to a quirky part of North Carolina law, despite the fact that anyone under the age of 18 can be considered a minor when they are a victim of a crime, when they are 16 or 17 they can be charged as an adult when they are the ones committing the crime. Therefore, because the boy was 16 years old, he was actually an adult using mobile phones to commit crimes against himself as a minor. This, despite the fact that the accused and the victim were the same person.