Teen who posted own photo charged with child porn

State police have charged a 15-year-old Latrobe girl with child pornography for taking photos of herself and posting them on the Internet. Police said the girl, whose identity they withheld, photographed herself in various states of undress and performing a variety of sexual acts. She then sent the photos to people she met in chat rooms.

She has been charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

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53 Responses:

  1. padmaclynne says:

    they should put a restraining order on her abuser. maybe she'll spontaneously learn to bilocate, to uphold the 100 yards clause.

  2. azul_ros says:

    This will probably the first legal case of it's kind & likely create all kinds of weird laws about self-porn. Great!!! Just what we need, more stifling rules about what each individual is allowed to do with themselves!!! Gaah!!! :(

    • cabrius says:

      It does seem kind of silly at first glance. I can imagine not wanting to allow this as some kind of loophole where pedos can get away scot-free as long as they entice the kids into doing it themselves, though.

      • azul_ros says:

        Yes, it's complex. I just see how right-wing religious fanatics could jump all over this and use it as a basis for limiting all sorts of online dirty pix that people regularly post. Why wouldn't they??? They've already begun to attack Cable TV. This is getting crazy!!

      • flipzagging says:

        How does charging the kid help matters? A pedophile (if one is even involved) would just move on to another victim.

        • ralesk says:

          Well stated.

          PS: Your `bemused' icon reminds me of Michael T. Weiss of `Pretender' fame. o_o;

        • volkris says:

          The entire foundation of the law is that production/posting/whatever of child porn harms children by encouraging others to abuse children to make more porn.

          This little trick of reasoning pretty much requires that, for example, this girl be charged. I mean, it's not that she was harming herself, it's just that she was harming OTHER KIDS by posting this stuff, and oh yeah we have to charge her with something so she was harming herself.

          The whole thing's a stupid misuse of the law. That situaitons like this come up just help indicate that.

          • baconmonkey says:

            ok, so would it be legal for someone else to posess the pictures that she took of herself?

            if yes, then kiddie porn is legal as long as it's self-shot, which could lead to people paying minors to take nude photos of themselves.
            if no, then presumably taking the images ought to be illegal too.

            • The problem is, laws about this sort of thing are damn tricky to get right. We're stuck with having to have some sort of dividing line, and we've chosen to pick an arbitrary age and say "OK, before this point, you have no ability to consent to this activity; after this point you're sexually mature". I'm not saying I disagree with this (I have no better suggestion), I'm just pointing out that it is arbitrary, because there's plenty of people who end up on either side of the "the line" who don't fit that description. Of course, the same holds true for voting, drinking, and many other things.

              My only observation on all this is that it does seem like if the girl took naked pictures of herself and posted them of her own accord, with no evidence of coercion (and the article is not clear on this -- did people in the chat rooms suggest she do this?), doesn't that perhaps indicate that she is mature enough to no longer be considered a sexual minor? I mean, it seems like this is evidence of the formation of a sexual identity and an understanding of what that means, doesn't it? Not to make a crude pun, but it seems like the cat is out of the bag already in this case...

              • flipzagging says:

                I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that any law about sending pictures in private communication around ought to be more or less like the laws around showing your body to people in the same room. If she took her top off for her boyfriend, that would be legal, as far as I know. In a year, she could consent to have sex with another minor. So why is sending a picture to someone -- probably another teen -- different?

                There might be a difference if she was getting money/favors/Amazon wish list items for pictures. If there are adults involved, it's more analogous to statutory rape. We can presume she's being manipulated, and I'd throw the book at them.

                Although, for all we know maybe she's a precocious artist who takes nude photos of herself, or precociously sexual AND can deal with it, but the most likely case is that she's just trolling for self-esteem points. Her parents ought to be dealing with this. It's a bad pattern, at such an early age.

                Why we have to make this thoughtcrime, I don't know.

                • greyface says:

                  I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that any law about sending pictures in private communication around ought to be more or less like the laws around showing your body to people in the same room. If she took her top off for her boyfriend, that would be legal, as far as I know. In a year, she could consent to have sex with another minor. So why is sending a picture to someone -- probably another teen -- different?

                  Well, that brings up the ?age old? question:
                  Where does statutory rape end, and masturbating to child pornography begin?

              • nothings says:

                we've chosen to pick an arbitrary age and say "OK, before this point, you have no ability to consent to this activity; after this point you're sexually mature".

                Apparently we haven't even done this; supposedly, the child pornography law has some particular age, but the age of consent is determined per-state and is not identical. So there's some scenario I've seen discussed along the lines of, a guy can screw his 16-year old girlfriend legally, but cannot legally possess a picture of that activity.

                This case is just short-circuiting that scenario a tad.

                • ralesk says:

                  It reminds me of the famous (but I guarantee: oversimplified) Texan situation where with 17 you may have sex but only with 18 years in your pocket can you watch porn.

                  • flim_flam says:

                    This is exactly the case in the UK (well, 16 and 18 are the ages).

                  • belgand says:

                    Indeed most states have 16 as the age of consent with some being a bit lower (I think 14 is the lowest) and some being a bit higher. The reasoning itself being quite insane I'll agree, especially when you consider that at 16 you can drive, fuck, and do pretty much everything else a person can legally do as depicted in an R-rated film, but cannot purchase a ticket to it.

      • mcfnord says:

        i agree the law does not need such a loophole. but i can't imagine charging her with crimes so serious as this. it makes absolutely no sense. She is at once the victim and the perpetrator. I don't understand.

  3. digitalmaven says:

    "Where are the parents?!"

    • belgand says:

      Hopefully not in the room. That would be freaky.

      On the other hand, hell, should your parents be around when you're 18 and decide to do this? Not bloody likely since it's your own goddamn choice. Too much power is given to parents to oppress their kids and treated like it's a good thing.

  4. patrick says:

    I can understand her being charged with possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography, but it seems really strange to me for them to charge her with sexual abuse of children. That charge just doesn't seem to make sense in this case.

    I wonder if she even realized this was illegal.

    • kchrist says:

      But should possession of pictures of yourself be considered possession of child pornography? What if she had never distributed them? Would it still be illegal?

      Two things strike me as interesting about this story: First, they don't say how the police found out about this. Second, and even more interesting, is that they don't mention the age of the recipients of the pictures, whether they were kids around her own age, adults who didn't know her age, or adults who were actually trolling for underage girls.

      • belgand says:

        I find it odd that it's considered possesion as well since the important part of that has always been, so far as I'm aware, that it must be for distinct prurient interests. That said it would be a live sex show for the poor girl to masturbate or even look at herself naked most likely.

        Distribution, on the other hand, makes some sense. A tricky, interesting issue.

        Reminds me a bit of a story I heard years ago about a guy who was arrested for child porn for taking pictures of his 16 year-old girlfriend and him having sex. They were both over the age of consent, but it was considered child porn because he took pictures. Despite them being only for their own personal use. Along a similar line of thought I wonder how it would work out precisely for a 16 year-old or so to be caught with pictures of another person of the same age. I mean, doesn't quite seem like the same issue then.

    • tanukisuit says:

      you are everywhere.

  5. wy1d says:

    Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!?

  6. pyrop says:

    And again I am forced to ask: how could someone publish a story like this with no pictures?

    • hotnickels says:

      hehe thats kinda funny, you say this with a icon from the scene where Shinji(age 14) is masturbating over the limpless body of Asuka (age 14).
      Great movie and series by the way. :)

  7. ronbar says:

    I think I need to read up on filesystem encryption now.

  8. gnat23 says:

    It's the mobius strip of law. mmm.

  9. autodidactic says:

    I bet you anything she'll grow up to be a performance artist, now. That's the sort of effect that stifling bureaucracy has on budding sexuality. Just trust me on this one.

    A.

  10. bitpuddle says:

    Good God. Can I be arrested for sodomizing myself?

  11. mackys says:

    I have concluded the following about my opinion of this incident:

    15 year old taking sexually explicit pictures of herself: Can see no good reason this should be illegal.

    15 year old (or anyone) distributing said pictures to other people: Probably should remain illegal, for a variety of reasons.

    As for what should happen to the girl? I think this is a case of "no harm, no foul." Tell her sorry, but she has to wait until she's 18 to give away nudie pixx0rzzZz of herself. And then send her on her way. I expect just the notoriety of having this case go public will deter her in the future.

    Are there problems with this approach? A boatload. On the one side I seem to be endorsing the creation of kiddy porn, even if it isn't ever seen. While at the same time I'm marginalizing the rights of children, and denying someone the right to distribute their own image, both of which I dislike on principle. There's also the case of what if the 15 year old gives naughty pics of herself to her steady boyfriend, which would remain technically illegal even though perhaps it shouldn't be.

    I don't kow. There doesn't seem to be any good middle ground here. No matter what I decide, I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I guess, in my mind, it comes down to harm to society. In this case, the traditional arguments are that kiddy porn encourags pedophiles, and exploits children. I find it difficult to believe that the 15 year old girl is "exploiting herself" by taking pictures that nobody sees. Similiarly, if nobody sees them, they can't encourage pedophiles.

    (Unless the 15 year old girls IS a pedophile - and she's encouraging her own pedophilia by taking nude pictures of herself. In which case I'll happily defend her right to masturbate to naughty pictures of herself while thinking, "Check out this underage chick right here! Woo-woo!")

    • sir_mark_mi says:

      Individual constitutional protections are not age dependent; the Supreme Court has noted, "constitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of majority." Planned Parenthood of Cent. Mo. v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 74 (1976).

      A legislature is without authority to disable personal constitutional rights by age; relevant examples include: a minor may purchase and receive contraceptive materials for personal use irrespective of age; see Carey v Population Services Int'l 431 US 678 (1977). A minor's individual right to choose abortion is absolute; a legislature cannot disable the right to abortion by age, even if under the local age of consent; see Planned Parenthood of Cent. Mo. v. Danforth.

      Sexually active minors (especially those at the local age of sexual consent, married, or otherwise legally emancipated) who choose to privately record or share sexual images of them self have the same constitutional rights as any adult; further, the right to produce such materials includes the right to possess and receive such materials from others.

      This person needs a good lawyer!

  12. roho says:

    Cool. Can't wait to hear about the first 14-year-old boy charged with sex with a minor for masturbating.

    • down8 says:

      And there, as they say, is the rub - no pun intended.

      -bZj

      [Avoiding obvious joke about being personally charged with multiple counts.]

  13. starjewel says:

    shit like this is why i moved from pittsburgh to sunnyvale. they're not so bright where i come from :/

  14. torgo_x says:

    When I was a kid, I thought the 21st century would be all futuristic.

    But it's just turned out to be one big Onion article come to life.

  15. jayrtfm says:

    If it goes to trial, could she be tried as an adult? Would she have to register as a sex offender, and be subject to Megan's law?

  16. mykwud says:

    Naked teens on the interweb??? WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

    WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN

  17. marsman57 says:

    can they release her name if she were convicted? She's a sex offender so they have to and the victim so they can't.

    • and underage to boot, so they really can't...

    • not_art says:

      This is just someone's attempt to see if they can overflow the stack of the US 'justice' bureaucracy.

      We must release her name.
      But we are banned from releasing her name.
      But we must release her name.
      But we cannot release her name.
      But we... we absolutely MUST release her name.
      BUT we CANNOT release her name, under any circumstances...
      But we positively MUST...
      boom

  18. valacosa says:

    It's kind of funny - this is what I've read about today:

    • A student getting kicked out of Academy of Art University for writing a violent paper, and the prof gets fired to boot. - link [Thanks, BoingBoing!]
    • The latest opinions of the FCC - link
    • And now this.

    America really seems to be moving backwards, freedom-wise. Soon it'll be just like the 1800's, except we'll have computers! And you'll be able to use them for whatever you want, as long as the state agrees...

  19. coldacid says:

    I can't seem to work in a joke about a person with multiple personalities taking himself hostage. I think it would fit in just fine, though.

  20. sir_mark_mi says:

    Individual constitutional protections are not age dependent; the Supreme Court has noted, "constitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of majority." Planned Parenthood of Cent. Mo. v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 74 (1976).

    A legislature is without authority to disable personal constitutional rights by age; relevant examples include: a minor may purchase and receive contraceptive materials for personal use irrespective of age; see Carey v Population Services Int'l 431 US 678 (1977). A minor's individual right to choose abortion is absolute; a legislature cannot disable the right to abortion by age, even if under the local age of consent; see Planned Parenthood of Cent. Mo. v. Danforth.

    Sexually active minors (especially those at the local age of sexual consent, married, or otherwise legally emancipated) who choose to privately record or share sexual images of them self have the same constitutional rights as any adult; further, the right to produce such materials includes the right to possess and receive such materials from others.

    This person needs a good lawyer. You have the same rights as any adult!