Male Teen Takes Nude Photo of Himself, Charged with Making Child Porn

The kid, 15, could be placed on the sex offender registry.



A Three Rivers, Michigan, teenager is both the victim and perpetrator of a sex crime. He might land on the sex offender registry, and face criminal charges, all because he took an inappropriate photo—of himself.

The boy is unnamed in local news reporters, which note that he is under 15 years of age. He allegedly took a nude photo of himself on a girl's cell phone. That girl sent the picture to another girl, who sent it to another. Preliminary charges are pending for all three—the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it. A prosecutor is still weighing whether to pursue the charges.

Police Detective Mike Mohney told that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to "bullying," and "real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they're so embarrassed about it."

Mohney's statement is a perfect example of the inherent contradiction of ruining kids' lives for sexting. If the goal is to avoid "severe consequences," why would they pursue charges in the first place? If sexting-induced embarrassment is a source of violence and suicide, certainly the risk of embarrassment is made much worse by branding the offender a pedophile—for abusing no one but himself—and sentencing him to the sex offender registry.

Criminal charges don't appear to deter other teens from sexting, either. As I noted in a recent op-ed for USA Today, a Drexel University study found that more than 50 percent of college undergraduates had sent sexts as minors. Some 88 percent of people surveyed had sent sexts, period. In other words, this is something that almost everyone is doing.

Authorities warn that the consequences for the underage are just too dire, but the most awful outcome is the one the authorities themselves impose on perpetrators: criminal charges. Can you imagine being a 14-year-old, trying to get your life back on track, after being socially stigmatized, expelled, charged with a crime, and publicly branded a sex offender? All because you took a picture of yourself?

Teens who create and share sexy photos aren't child pornographers. They are teenagers. To pretend the law can suppress their natural curiosity about their own bodies, and each other's, is to subscribe to vindictive madness and paranoia about human sexuality. These kids aren't hurting themselves—we're hurting them.

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  1. Before I can judge whether these pix are porn or not, I’m gonna need to see them.

      1. Potter Stewart couldn’t have said it better.

    1. What’s your email address? I have some pics for you.

        1. Am I sending them to Diane, or Paul.?

          And if you’re claiming that Lady B is taken, yes she is. BY ME. That meme has even more staying power than Irish as a racist.

          Agreements were made. Yoga pants were promised. Pics and benefits were pledged.

          1. It doesn’t count until she wears your jacket.

      1. Please send your dirty pics to me at … We will SHOW our appreciation to you ASAP, after delivery of said pics…

        1. Hmmm….. Seems legit!

          *unzips pants*

        2. This is no biggie, it is just a copyright issue. Since the government owns you , it must also own the copyrights to any images of you as well . Consequently you have no right whatsoever to take pictures of yourself. QED,

    2. Go into law enforcement. You get to look at all the kid pics you can get your hands on.

      1. Hand, singular. Your other hand will be otherwise occupied.

      2. And you get to get your hands on every kid you can look at.

        And then shoot them.

    1. Not sure about exploit but I have taken advantage of myself. Wasn’t weird about it or anything, didn’t tie myself up first, just put on some Tom Waits.. and you know kinda.., spent a little time with myself.

      1. Dinner and a little wine first?

        1. I am a sex slave to myself!

          So who gets prosecuted first, me, myself, or I?!?! Can I bring charges against myself? Can I get a reward for turning myself in? If I do this last thing, won’t that be self-abuse, and punishable, all by itself? If so, isn’t the whole “Long Arm of The Law” an accomplice to said self-abuse?

          This whole thing could be a HUUUUGE stimulus to the economy!!!! WAY-WAY many lawyers could be employed!!!!

          1. Well, let’s see… did you cross and state or international lines before this abuse took place? I’m sure we could bring the feds into this.

        2. Thats right, some class joint somewhere, Burrito King or sumptin’ Hell, I ain’t cheap.

    2. I do it every day. Unless my wife wants to step up to the plate.

    3. According to the Catholic Church,yes.And you’ll go blind.

      1. I always promised to quit when I needed glasses.

        1. Learn to type in braille.Problem solved.

          1. You should try reading Sugarfree in braille. After a while your, fingertips get sticky.

            1. That’s the blood.

    4. You can be exploited by the left or the right, for more likely, by the left and right.

  2. Actually sexyness is what makes it porn. It’s legal to take non sexy naked photos of kids.

    1. On another note,there are no non sexy pics of Emily Bett Rickards.

    2. Well, Officer McStudley is just going to have to take this “evidence” home over the weekend to determine whether it is sexy or not.

  3. So, what do they call it if he looks in a mirror?

  4. Robby, is that you in the pic?

    1. I think that’s a photo of John Titor.

    2. Robby was taking meta-selfies before it was cool.

  5. This is another example of how less free we are today. In an earlier thread today, one of the woodchippers disagreed with my assertion that we are less free than we were 30 or 40 years ago by claiming that we have more FA liberty today than in 1975.

    There are none as blind as those who choose not to see….

    1. The things I could get way with when I was 18,in 1978, would land you in jail now. I could even drink legally then.

    2. We’re less free in some ways and more free in others.

      1. Zeb, the negatives far outweigh the positives. One example is Reason and the woodchippers. The FA really was some bulwark against Reason disclosing biographical info of its commenters.

        1. Patriot act,TSA, ramped up drug war,war on parents,ect,ect.

        2. For those of us not up on all these terms, what does “FA” refer to? Free association? Probably not. And what is the reference to “woodchippers” about?

            if the squirrels take my link, go to popehatDOTcom and search for ReasonDOTcom

          2. FA=First Amendment.

    3. Hm, I think we are more free today and the FA is stronger than ever. However, I am not looking to debate that point. I would just point out that half the woodchippers are FIB trolls – they need you to think it’s safe to sacrifice some freedoms. Otherwise they’re out of a job.

    4. We are amazingly less free than we were 40 years ago. Just because some pig does not at this very moment have his knee to my neck doesn’t mean I am free.

    5. What is FA?

      1. First Amendment, as far as I can tell.

        1A is a better abbreviation, since Fourth, Fifth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth all start with F as well.

        1. Ah, thanks. I read through the link to poehat but there was too much other information.

    6. Football Association liberty?

  6. By this logic, I sexually molested myself often as a teenager. Thank goodness the statute of limitations has expired.

    1. I not only molested myself, I attempted to molest and be molested by others who were under the age at which the state deemed me capable of determining how to use Captain Winky.

  7. I wonder how long detective Mike Mohney spent examining these pictures. Are they going to have to induce an erection to make sure they got the right one? It’s the only logical course of action. Detective Mike Mohney is on the case like a fat kid on a cupcake.

    1. Are they going to have to induce an erection to make sure they got the right one? It’s the only logical course of action.

      Of all the balls-out brain-hemorrhage-inducing retarded things I’ve heard law enforcement do, this has got to be in the top 5. When I first saw the story on reason I figured the staff got pranked by an Onion-esque fake article and eagerly awaited the correction within 24 hours.

      Nope. Totally real.

      1. You don’t spend enough time here then. It happens often.

        1. That one was pretty special.

        2. Maybe that is why middle age whites are dying. This banana republic is so toxic it has something like an LD50.

    2. +1 penis envy.

  8. I’m just trying to imagine people getting together and discussing bringing these charges and not laughing at the absurdity of it. How can anyone think that this is a worthwhile or just prosecution?

    1. You have never worked in the bureaucracy have you?

      Everyone is following the rules following the orders covering their asses.

      Just as an organization can give rise to a benevolent invisible hand, it can also give rise to a malevolent booted foot stamping a human face forever.

  9. As the drug war winds down, the criminal justice system is desperate for new crimes. They support ‘hate speech’ laws for the same reasons, and don’t be surprised when they trot out the old ‘bullying’ and ‘mental illness’ and ‘suicide’ shibboleths.

  10. I…Wha’…it’s just….I mean, Holy Crap!
    World, what the hell is wrong with you??

    **Looks at beautiful, unopened bottle of Bushmills to comfort self**

  11. No, I’m not done.

    It it were 20 years ago and this had happened with a Polaroid (remember those?), would the State be looking at charging the kid then?

    1. No,and he could ride a bike with out a helmet.And if caught with a beer he’d be taken home to his parents to deal with it.

      1. No, 20 years ago underaged would get you a misdemeanor.

        1. fuck, *underaged drinking

    2. What about 10 Years ago, when weddings had Kodak disposable cameras on the table so that guests could take photographs for the bride and groom?

      1. Were they nude and under-age?

        1. At a nudist wedding…

          Does the attending priest / minister / rabbi / Imam / Scientologistologist say…

          “You may fuck the bride” at the end of the ceremony?

          1. Why would he?

            1. To dignify the wedding! To allow “God’s Little Helpers” to help themselves to at least a corner of a credit-claim to having invented kissing (for us non-nudists) and sex (for the nudists).

              God invented sex, BUT… BUT you may NOT enjoy sex, guilt-free, without the consent and blessings of “God’s Little Helpers”!!!

              Git yer Theology STRAIGHT, Government Almighty dammit!!! (Old days, needed blessing from “God’s Little Helpers”… New days, need license, need Government Almighty’s blessings).

          2. Prima nocta?

            1. Holy Shiites! Learn sumthin new every day I guess… I had to look that up…


              “Rights used by nobles of the past to have sexual rights to the wife of a man newly married on the night of their wedding.
              The Lord exercised his rights of Prima Nocta to take the man’s wife for himself on her wedding night.”

              My knowledge of history says that Caligula did that, as did the spoiled son (sons?) of Saddam Hussein…

              1. Re-watch Brave Heart – it might make even more sense the next time.

      2. Don’t you mock my wedding.

        1. Still not as embarrassing as how the twee hipster crap is going to seem in 10 years

    3. A few weeks ago I took a picture of my 7 year old (in the tub with goggles, flippers and a blow-up dolphin) and sent it to a girl-buddy of mine. My daughter’s god-father (and my attorney) was like, dude, you may have just committed a felony.

      I refuse to believe this. Refuse to. REFUSE!!!!!!

      1. They will make a believer out of you at the Ministry of Love.

        See you in room 101.

  12. So if he gets put on the sexual registry, does it means he can’t come withing 300 feet of himself?

    This is one hell of a Kafkaesque banana republic.

    1. If you can’t come within 300 feet of yourself, you do have a muy grande boner.

      1. Well, if I fold it in half…..

        1. I do spirals.

  13. I know people who work in public schools, both high school and middle school, and this is an issue they deal with too frequently. The best part is that the kids never think they did anything wrong and can’t understand what the big deal is, while the adults are freaking out.

    1. And once they hit the magic mark of 18, no one bats an eyelash.

    2. At least the kids are sane.

      Though They will be educated out of that shortly enough.

  14. the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it.

    We really need to stop calling pubescent teens children.

    1. I remember reading case law where anyone under 18 (I think) were referred to as infants.

    2. Interesting point.

      Here’s a thought experiment: Here in Ohio I believe the age of sexual consent is 17. So could you (by “you” I’m referencing the pervs who inhabit the Reason comments) theoretically have an ongoing sexual relationship with a seventeen year old but go to prison for having them send you a nude picture?

      1. It’s happened. Reason covered it.

          1. I can’t find it with the google, but it was a story about a guy (older) who had a 17 year old girlfriend. It was legal to fuck her but not legal to take video of it, which he did.

  15. This is utterly absurd. Luckily, it won’t stand. At least, not if he and his family have the resources to take this to the Supreme Court. The category of “child pornography” as an exception to the First Amendment was established by the 1982 case of New York v. Ferber. The Court said that the decision was limited to material that was “intrinsically related to the sexual abuse of children”. Since there was no sexual abuse here, that decision really cannot apply to the picture involved here. If this case gets to the high court, they will surely say so. The boy involved could then go from supposed felon to namesake of a new Supreme Court case protecting others from the fate he almost suffered.

    1. Should this go to the supreme court anyway? Ruining kids lives over nude selfies is beyond idiotic. Neither is ruining the lives of a 16yo boyfriend and girlfriend sending nude selfies to each other.

      Does no one stop and think: Okay, this kid made a mistake, but lets expel him from school, arrest him and brand him a sex offender for the rest of his life. So he can’t get a job and will probably end up homeless. Yeah that’s better than educating them.

      1. Of course in a sensible world these charges would not be happening, and there would be no need to have a Supreme Court case about them. But they are happening, and will continue to happen unless there is a clear-cut decision invalidating them. The concept of “child pornography” has been extended way beyond what was ever contemplated by the Court in the Ferber case, and I’m confident that the Court will roll that definition back if given the chance. While I guess there is never 100% certainty of what the Court will say, a case like this comes about as close to that as possible.

        1. In a sensible world those who brought the charges would be Wood chippered in the public square.

    2. “Child pornography” being an exception to the First Amendment was something that was pulled right out of some judges’ asses. Apparently they think they are gods who can simply insert new text into the constitution when they don’t like what it currently says.

      1. And they are demonstrably correct. They can and have.

    3. But that was later changed in 1984 by Congress to raise the age of any media taken of anyone under 18 to be felonious where as it was previously age 16. The caveat being that it must be prurient (i.e. a class of obscenity), however there is no need for actual abuse. And by precedent, everyone assumes it is (and let’s be honest, for young adults it likely is).

  16. The boy is unnamed in local news…

    Joseph K. Heller?

  17. So if it’s child pornography when a teen takes a nude selfie, then it logically follows that if he masturbated, that would constitute sexual assualt of a minor, right?

  18. There’s someought creepy and weird and maybe even offensive about this usage of “inappropriate”. So the great offense if someone gets raped, for example, does not reside in the act itself, but in that it was done at an unproper time or location? And this kid’s photograph was criminal because it violated propriety? It seems weird.

  19. ‘Police Detective Mike Mohney told that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they’re so embarrassed about it.”‘

    It seems to have escaped the detective’s grasp that he’s the one doing the bullying, and the potential cause for the possible second-tier effects that he is ‘concerned’ about.

  20. The logic of the DA and the Police Department is sorely lacking. The harm caused by the charges and certainly by conviction would cause far more harm to the children and society than sexting I don’t understand the mentality to save the children by destroying them. It is an attempt to legislate intelligence. Good luck when applied to a bunch of 15 year olds.

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