Teenagers

Teens Who Filmed Themselves Having Sex Charged as Child Pornographers 'To Send a Message'

Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life?

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amslerPIX/Flickr

Four Chicago-area teenagers faces felony child-pornography charges after uploading a video of themselves having sex to Twitter. The three boys and one girl, ages 14-16, are being held in juvenile custody until a court hearing later this month. 

Both the sex and the posting of the video were consensual—this is not a rape or "revenge porn" scenario. But under Illinois law (as in many other states), minors who post sexually-oriented images of themselves online or even share them privately with one another can be charged as child pornographers. 

It's an absurd situation (and one Reason writers have railed against before). Maybe things like tweeting your orgy video or texting nude photos to classmates aren't the wisest decisions a teen can make, but these are matters that parents or perhaps school administrators should address, not the criminal justice system. Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life because they dared to explore their sexuality? 

The intent of laws against child pornography is to prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors. No minors were being abused or exploited in this case. In fact, it's the state who's actively doing them harm, and for what purpose? Why, to "send a message," of course.

From CBS Chicago

Police want the charges against the four students to serve as a cautionary tale to other youths engaged in high-risk behavior.

"The child pornography offense that was charged is in place for a reason, because we don't want to accept that type of behavior as a society," [Joliet Police Chief Brian] Benton said. "It's making a strong statement, and I think it's important to do so, to send a message to others that kids shouldn't be involved in this type of behavior, and hopefully this will serve as a deterrent."

Benton said such behavior could seriously affect the teens' lives "for years to come."

"It's an incident you may not recover from," he said.

The myopia on display in Benton's comments is incredible. The worst thing that's likely to happen from teens sharing their own sex video online is perhaps some judgment or ostracization if people they know see the video. But if convicted as child pornographers, these kids may be ripped from their schools and communities, placed in juvenile detention centers, and branded felons and sex offenders for life. As such, they'll have limited eligibility for college loans, limited employment opportunities, and restrictions on where they can live, travel, and more. So, yes, posting an online sex video of yourself as a teen could be "an incident you may not recover from," but only because of people like Police Chief Brian Benton. 

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96 responses to “Teens Who Filmed Themselves Having Sex Charged as Child Pornographers 'To Send a Message'

  1. So, yes, posting an online sex video of yourself as a teen could be “an incident you may not recover from,” but only because of people like Police Chief Brian Benton.

    It’s like I told my stepson with regards to drugs. The drugs themselves aren’t what ruin lives. It’s what happens to you if you get caught that can ruin your life.

    1. Speaking of that:

      http://news.yahoo.com/obama-co…..itics.html

      The comments are about what you’d expect: Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Drugs ruin lives. Blah, blah, blah.

      1. Yahoo comments are awful, not youtube awful, but still awful.

        1. Most yahoo comments are pretty bad. What separates it from Youtube is that every single comment is not some variant of ‘Yu a fagit!’

      2. The worst is you just know a healthy majority of those commenters did their share of drugs at one point or another. But it was OK for them, because they’re better than all those hood rats down in the ghetto smokin crack.

        1. Hey, tripping on LSD while at a Grateful Dead concert was, like totally okay man.

        2. That’s because the guy that sold THEM drugs should have gone to prison. Their horrible grammar and spelling is HIS fault.

    2. I’d question whether there are many people out there with healthy heroin or methamphetamine hobbies. I mean, I’m fine with drugs ruining lives, it’s just self-selecting Darwinism like any other poor choices, which helps me out by clearing away the competition, but I probably wouldn’t advise my brood as to the innocuousness of shooting up black tar. Of course, he is only you step son, so there’s that.

  2. It’s just not enough that these kids could literally have to explain this to a college, employer or future spouse. Personal accountability for decisions isn’t enough. Jail. Jail is the secret ingredient to repentance.

    1. Surely they won’t be having any more sex there!

      1. As long as it’s with a Messican I think libertopia can get on board with this.

    2. It is a modern day inquisition. People aren’t being tortured or burned at the stake, but there are still striking similarities:

      – Punishment as a form of purification.
      – Confess and you’ll be shown mercy, in the form of a quicker death shorter sentence. But stand firm in your heresy and no mercy will be shown.
      – It is necessary to punish the heretics because they may drag others into apostasy.

      1. I knew we never got rid of those damn puritans!

        1. Same beliefs, different costumes.

      2. -Punishment as a form of purification.
        – Confess and you’ll be shown mercy, in the form of a quicker death shorter sentence. But stand firm in your heresy and no mercy will be shown.
        – It is necessary to punish the heretics because they may drag others into apostasy.

        Speaking of….did you see last week’s episode of Vikings? I love that fuckin’ show.

        1. I’m not familiar with that show. How much nudity is there?

          1. I’m into the second season and Katheryn Winnick hasn’t gotten nude yet. I’m starting to get disillusioned. Though she was on an episode of Person of Interest recently.

            1. I’ve seen her nekkid back. It is History Channel, though, so I don’t expect any boobies or ass.

    3. Prisons create jerbs!

  3. Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.

  4. perhaps school administrators should address

    Only if it took place on school property, IMO.

    These kids are gonna be punished big time, in the real world, when future employers dig up this dirt. No need to send them to jail.

    1. Yeah. The school administrators thing bugged me too. As far as I can tell this has nothing to do with the school system and I can’t imagine why anyone would want the tiny dictators involved.

      1. Maybe things like tweeting your orgy videoor texting nude photos to classmates aren’t the wisest decisions a teen can make, but these are matters that parents or perhaps school administrators should address

        I didn’t mean in this case, but in some of the teen sexting cases where the photos are being spread around the school. Those usually start with some tattling student alerting the school officials and then the officials immediately call in the police.

        1. Fair point. Thanks for the clarification.

    2. What dirt? That they had sex as teens? AFAIK, that’s still considered normal, even expected. But, like, you’re never supposed to admit it?

  5. That oughta teach teenagers everywhere to consider the long-term consequences of their actions.

    1. And moms. The girl’s mom reported it.

      Please, daughter, kill your mother as soon as you get out.

      1. I’m guessing there is no father in the picture, most wouldn’t want the government involved so the ass-kicking could be done under the radar.

      2. I’m guessing the mom had no idea the authorities would come at it with a completely insane reaction.

        1. Then she hasn’t been paying any attention whatsoever.

          1. Which is pretty typical for most people.

          2. Then she hasn’t been paying any attention whatsoever.

            A mother…

            of a teenager daughter…

            who’s making porn…

            and posting it on the web.

            How high do the clues have to be piled Epi?

            1. The mom’s just pissed her daughter has become a business competitor.

        2. ??? The MOM called the police about a crime involving sex!! What would make you think she didn’t want the crime treated as a sex crime?

          For the record though…was the girl 14 and the 3 guys 16? If so, those guys are done like dinner. If the girl was clearly in charge throughout the video they might get away with it. But, if she was 14, all she has to say is ‘they told me I had to’, she’s off the hook, they get sent to an adult prison somewhere where they will be raped repeatedly.

        3. I’m guessing the mom had no idea the authorities would come at it with a completely insane reaction.

          Right. She reported it because she wanted the male participants punished. That’s not insane.

    2. You make it seem like 14-16 year old boys confronted with a naked and willing girl aren’t already one of the most calm and deliberative demographics known to mankind.

      I’m stunned that they had the ability to think of filming it. I know a young me wouldn’t have had the excess brain cells to think of that.

      1. Hey man, they wanted everyone to believe them when they said “we triple-teamed this girl”. Their lizard brains worked well enough for that. We’re evolving right along with the internet!

      2. So it wasn’t the first time?

      3. But back in my day “filming it” meant buying film, then setting up a tripod with an 8mm camera and lighting, then getting the film developed somewhere, then finding a projector. Threading the film through all the sprockets on the projector would have been enough deterrence.

        Today kids are “filming” pretty much whenever they’re awake and not viewing. And sometimes they video themselves viewing.

  6. In fact, it’s the state who’s actively doing them harm, and for what purpose?

    Because it can, and that attracts sadists and creeps to the positions within it. The only reason this is happening is because disgusting, cruel shitbags see an opportunity to fuck some kids over (they’re also probably jealous as fuck that these kids are having sex at an age that they merely dreamed of it), and they’re taking that opportunity. Again: because they can. And that’s why they took their jobs in the first place.

    1. This is what pisses me off about “hacktivist”, and other people who supposedly support our justice system not being so crazy and wanting to “speak truth to power” and whatever other slogans they use. If you’re going to do something, you should be actively digging up dirt on every politician, judge, prosecutor, cop, bureaucrat, etc. and putting it out for the world to see saying “You want to fuck up some innocent person’s life because you can? You better be ready for every single dirty little secret you have coming to light.”

      1. Unfortunately there are also a lot of cruel, nasty people outside the system too, who watch and cheer it on as a bloodsport.

    2. I don’t think it is quite that simple. People like this are acting on some base moral instinct to punish the impure, lest they sully the rest of us. They truly think they are doing a service to society.

      1. “Paging Senor Torquemada. Senor Tomas de Torquemada? Your benevolent hand is required in Chicago.”

        1. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition…

  7. I pronounce the alt-text to be today’s winner.

    1. In that it’s probably the only alt-text we’ll get today!

  8. Teens Who Filmed Themselves Having Sex Charged as Child Pornographers ‘To Send a Message’

    And that message is: “Fuck you, that’s why.”

  9. FTA:

    The girl’s mother found out about the video, and reported the Twitter post to police, who seized the original recording.

    WTF is wrong with these people?

    1. Well, hopefully mom learned her lesson to never call the police, ever. Like Brian Aitken’s mom.

      1. That’s kind of an expensive lesson to learn, isn’t it? And mom isn’t the one paying the bill.

    2. For some reason they believe that the government is there to help them.

      1. You’d think that, eventually, everyone will be a libertarian.

        1. You would, except that people are way too in love with the state’s capacity to hand out free shit and stick it to people they don’t like.

          1. The anarchorevolution will only be brought about by mass fear of parricide. Or something. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

        2. Not while FREE SHIT exists

    3. Your average soccer mom. Hasn’t learned anything since high school that wasn’t learned on dancing with the stars. Until now, maybe. But I doubt it. What she probably got out of this is that we need even more and stronger laws to protect the children from themselves.

      1. “But the police officers on SVU are so nice!”

          1. GAH

            A part of me just died watching that. Unfortunately it wasn’t the evil twin I absorbed in the womb.

          2. Of FFS. The only thing worse than Dick Wolf making money off of that business model is when the writers change the headline they’ve ripped the story from to show that “Jackie” actually was raped.

    4. The police are pedophiles?

      Oh, you were asking about the mother.

    5. She wanted to punish the boys who sullied her virginal daughter.

      Props to the cops for at least applying the law in a gender-neutral fashion.

  10. My thoughts while looking at this article “Why is there a very young and seductive looking woman in the sidebar ad…..oh”. Dammit, Reason. *is arrested to send a message*

  11. Comply. Consume. Obey. There is no escape.

  12. The message they are sending is this:

    We’re the ruling class, you’re the peasants. We can do whatever we want, because FYTW. So shut up and obey, or else.

  13. People have lost their muthah fuckin minds!

    How can one “exploit” themselves?

    OUT

    OF

    CONTROL!

    1. Easy, because the people who gravitate towards government and law and order positions tend to hold the view that you don’t own yourself and are thus incapable of governing yourselves.

      So these kids need to be both saved from themselves and punished for their sinful behavior.

      1. Another amazing example of this that I came across this morning: http://www.theleafchronicle.co…../70667382/

        See, by luring in men with fake-prostitution ads and then arresting them, the police were only trying to protect these men from being robbed by evil sex workers!

        The ongoing effort is designed not only to reduce (prostitution) but also to prevent assaults and robberies against the solicitors. This has become commonplace with online prostitution as the men become easy targets when they are directed to locations that are controlled by the prostitutes, Hall said.

        1. Harris County is still running these. The Houston Chronicle runs a sting report every week now. Same shit, 13 men came to a motel expecting sex — sometimes with a pubescent minor. Which somehow makes it worse because 16 year olds are magically more exploited tha 18 year olds?

        2. Given a choice these johns would have much preferred the momentary jolt of being robbed over having violent statist thugs apprehend them and feverishly work to destroy whatever vestige of reputation these men had over a fucking consensual adult arrangement.

          Fuck law enforcement. No ‘vice’ can compete with the violent life-destruction of law enforcers.

    2. If you don’t own yourself, and instead the state or the collective owns you, then you can “exploit” yourself by doing something your owner(s) don’t like. That’s how.

  14. This seems more to be a “does not compute” situation. The reasoning is that child porn is an evil thing, but that minors objectified in it would also be he producets is a situation the bureaucracy cannot comprehend, so it follows the rules as written even if the result is grotesque.

  15. I’m a big fan of the ‘we’re putting you in prison for your own good’ arguments.

    You see this a lot with drug arguments too. The Drug Warrior will go on and on about how damaging drugs are to the person who does them, but never quite gets around to explaining why it’s not even more damaging to throw them in jail.

  16. Both the sex and the posting of the video were consensual

    Legally, of course, minors can’t give consent to sex.

    perhaps school administrators should address

    I swear we were just talking about how college administrators should keep their sticky mitts off of their students’ sex lives. But high school administrators, no problem?

    1. Legally, of course, minors can’t give consent to sex.

      I understand that it simplifies things to have a clear line demarcating the age of consent, but you would think there would be exceptions when someone can clearly and unequivocally demonstrate their freaking ability to consent.

      1. What’s ironic is that here we have the almost-mythical clear and indisputable evidence of ongoing affirmative consent.

        And people are still going to jail.

      2. If they can’t consent, how can they be criminally responsible? Its almost as frustrating as the kid who can’t legally drink but gets a felony DUI if he injures someone. The State gets to assign culpability to the incapable which clearly seems like the same 8A problem as executing rearded people.

        1. ^^^THIS!

          How can someone be convicted as an adult for something that’s only an offense because they are not an adult.

          1. For the same reason you can go to jail for resisting arrest or obstructing justice without ever having committed a crime.

            Its about obedience. Not following the law or being a good and decent person.

            Obey. Or die.

            Land of the free!

        2. Come on, you should know this by now.

          Because FYTW.

  17. When the senate gets their act together and passes the human trafficking victim act, these folks won’t just be sex offenders, they’ll be slavers (enslaving themselves).

  18. Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life because they dared to explore their sexuality?

    The fathers of daughters everywhere?

    Jus’ sayin’

    *cleans shotgun*

    1. Wasn’t the cat who invaded someone’s home and blew his head off with a shotgun b/c he was on the sex offender registry for doing his 17 yo gf when he was 19 a mere state over from you?

  19. Jesus Christ, the shit we got away with in the 80’s as teenagers.

    Enter the Technodragon and suddenly we have this super-duper power to capture everything immediately so, shit, motherfuckers let’s be young, mindless, and have an orgy with our dicks, vaginas, Apples, and Samsungs.

    The travesty here initiates with adults like Joliet Police Chief Brian Braindead Benton who, like many of his local contemporaries, is a verified humongous wart-ridden toad who hasn’t a shred of ability to contemplate past his own goddamn nose hairs.

  20. Wait so was the girl 16? ‘Cause then would it be less weird if I ask for a link???…

  21. “Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life because they dared to explore their sexuality? ”

    The makers of real pron hate the competition.

  22. Govt needs a credo like the Hippocratic oath… First do no harm.

    1. The problem arises when it comes to determining what constitutes “harm”.

  23. How long is it going to take before one of these cases makes its way thru the appeals process to strike down the law’s appl’n to self-photography? The only reason non-obscene kiddie porn was ruled not to be constitutionally protected as an exercise of freedom of the press was that it required, in effect, sexual assault of children. Clearly that’s not what’s going on in these cases, so presumably the law’s appl’n to self-photography would be struck down by the same judges, but it’s hard to get review, and all cases to date have pled out AFAIK.

  24. Just more government gone wild. With all the real problems in America ya think they could find something better to do.

  25. Now that Obama is letting the Iranians get a nuke, I sure hope Chicago is their first US target.

  26. How about this idea: judges could fire police officials who violate the law by bringing cases like this one. One violation of the law is to distribute child pornography. Another violation of the law is to charge people with distribution of child pornography when they have done nothing of the sort.

    You are right to point out the myopia in Chief Benton’s thinking. If you’re right and you know it, clap your hands. The only message that Benton sends is that he’s an authoritarian idiot.

  27. Government “solutions” are invariably worse than the problem.

  28. Four Chicago-area teenagers faces felony child-pornography charges after uploading a video of themselves….

    How can one be charged with child porn when no children were involved?

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