Sexting

Prosecutor Wants to Charge 14-Year-Old Girl with Sexual Exploitation for Taking PG-13 Pictures of Herself

When her parents found out she had sexted, they were horrified. When they saw the actual pictures, they were confused.

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Texting
Tarajane / Dreamstime

A 14-year-old Iowa girl, "Nancy Doe," is facing sexual exploitation charges for taking two sexy pictures of a minor and texting them to a boy at school.

The minor in question is Doe, which means the Marion County prosecutor has essentially threatened to brand her a sex offender for taking and sending pictures of her own body.

Making matters significantly worse, the pictures in question can hardly be described as child pornography, Doe's family argues in its lawsuit against Marion County Attorney Ed Bull. In one photo, she was wearing boy shorts and a sports bra. In the other, she had removed the bra but her hair was fully covering her breasts.

Doe's own parents described the pictures as "less 'racy' than photographs they see in fashion magazines and on television every day." They wonder if she could have been prosecuted for taking a picture of herself in her swimsuit—such a picture would have probably been even more revealing than the alleged 'sexts.'

Doe's not waiting to be prosecuted for something that shouldn't even be a crime, and probably isn't in this specific case. She has filed a lawsuit against the county attorney for threatening to violate her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

"It is clearly a violation of the First Amendment for a prosecutor to credibly threaten to bring criminal charges for protected speech and expression," Rita Bettis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, told The Des Moines Register. "While courts have held that child pornography is not protected under the First Amendment, in this case, there appears to be a real factual question about whether the image itself was child pornography."

The trouble began last March, when two boys at Knoxville High School were caught using the school printers to print inappropriate photos of their classmates, both male and female, which had been obtained via texts and Snapchat. Some of the teens in the photos were nude, though emojis were covering their private parts, according to the lawsuit. Doe's two photos were among them.

School officials notified the police, and the school counselor began reaching out to the parents. Doe's family was horrified to learn that she had sent inappropriate photos to a boy who had then violated her privacy and shared them with his friends. They restricted Doe's phone access as punishment.

Police officers asked to speak with Doe as part of their investigation into the Knoxville High sexting ring. Doe's parents wisely declined permission for Doe to speak with them, though they agreed to come to the police station themselves. It was at this point, on April 6, that Doe's parents were finally able to see the photos for themselves.

The Does were "perplexed," according to the lawsuit, since neither of the pictures were pornographic. "Receiving assurances that these two photos were they only photographs of Nancy, the Does asked what the fuss was about…. Leaving the Police Department, the Does were confused why their daughter was being investigated by the police at all."

A few weeks later, Juvenile Court informed them that Doe was accused of "Sexual Exploitation of a Minor."

The court was apparently pursuing investigations against a number of kids involved in the swapping of sexy text messages at Knoxville High. The kids and all their parents were asked to meet with Bull, the County Attorney, on May 24. The Does did not attend—they had a prior conflict, were skeptical that the meeting could change their mind about their daughter's innocence, and didn't want to expose her to public shaming or ridicule.

According to the lawsuit, 30 kids and their parents attended the meeting. Bull told the kids that they could be charged with possessing child pornography and have to register as sex offenders. He also "slut shamed" the girls, chiding them for sending enticing photographs to the boys.

Bull gave the teens an option to avoid charges: they had to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program involving community service, classes on the dangers of sexting, no phone or laptop for set period of time, and an admission of guilt. If they did all these things, they would not be prosecuted.

This deal might make sense for kids who transmitted sexually suggestive pictures—although in a sane world, none would face criminal charges for mistakes that should be handled by parents and school officials. But the Does manifestly—and admirably, in my opinion—refuse to concede that their daughter violated the law.

All of the other kids accepted the diversion program. Doe's family opted to sue Bull.

"Bull's threat to prosecute Nancy criminally is completely without merit, and thus is made in bad faith as he has no, and can have no, reasonable expectation of obtaining a conviction of Nancy or an adjudication of Nancy as delinquent," according to the lawsuit.

The county's behavior is so egregiously awful, it's hard to know where to begin. How can a person—andunderage person—be credibly accused of exploiting herself? If the photos Doe sent constitute exploitation, all photos of teenagers in bathing suits are exploitation. Could Doe be charged with exploitation for stealing a glance at her own body in the bathroom mirror when exiting the shower? (To say nothing of group showers at Knoxville High School itself.)

If any actual sexual exploitation took place, Doe is the victim of it, not the perpetrator. Her (not at all pornographic) pictures were shared without her consent. I don't think the boys who betrayed her trust should be charged with a crime, either—they should be harshly disciplined by the school and grounded until the end of time by their parents—but if anyone committed a wrong, it was them.

By now, there should be no remaining doubt: the war on teen sexting is much more harmful to kids than sexting itself. And the only party engaged in exploiting teenagers is the state.

Related: 17-Year-Old Faces Child Porn, Assault Charges for Consensual Sex with Girlfriend

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  1. Bull gave the teens an option to avoid charges: they had to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program involving community service, classes on the dangers of sexting, no phone or laptop for set period of time, and an admission of guilt. If they did all these things, they would not be prosecuted.

    This deal might make sense for kids who transmitted sexually suggestive pictures?although in a sane world, none would face criminal charges for mistakes that should be handled by parents and school officials. But the Does manifestly?and admirably, in my opinion?refuse to concede that their daughter violated the law.

    Ah come on! Really? You’re just screwing with us, aren’t you?

    1. The deal might make sense if the alternative was a trial they might lose and the kid get registered as a sex offender.

      1. If that was what Robby said, I’d agree, but it’s not.

        1. Clear enough to me that it’s what he meant. C’mon now.

      2. What charge are they admitting to in this deal? Did the kids who took the deal just unwittingly agree to registration?

      3. My best friend’s sister makes $97 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her check was $14750 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go this website and Go to tech tab to start your work… http://tinyurl.com/zp242lj

      4. It still only makes sense if you assume that the parents are being forced into a ‘get bit or get fucked’ situation. What would make sense is ‘hey, this is what happened – now go deal with the fallout with your kids’ and that’s it.

        Well, except for the two fuckers who were printing the pictures out. Give them the benefit of the doubt and ‘divert them’. And then look the other way when everyone else beats the shit out of them.

    2. Ah come on! Really? You’re just screwing with us, aren’t you?

      It’s possible.

      It’s also possible that Robbie is a really broken person who is going through the motions of being a decent human being.

    3. I would suggest you’re reading from the perspective of him saying it would make sense in a sane world for yadda yadda. What he’s saying is given our insane world it might make sense for X Y Z.

      1. ITS FOR THE CHILDRUNS!

    4. What I mean is, it might make practical sense for these kids to take that deal rather than try to fight a losing court battle against a sociopathic criminal justice system.

      1. You’ve violated the first rule of Commenter Combat: never engage the commenters.

        1. We’re not all John.

            1. [ogles heavy chick] I am John!

              1. Je suis John.

        2. Never wrestle the pig – you both end up covered in shit but the pig likes it.

      2. Thank you. Much better.

        1. So, what I said…

          NEVER DOUBT ME!

          1. I must doubt you. If I took your stories seriously, I’d have to take a melonballer to my eyes.

            1. The fictions are clearly marked, Thomas.

              1. 24 Now Thomascat (called 2catymus), one ov teh Twelf, was not wif teh desipuls wen Happy Cat caem.

                25 So teh otehr desipuls told him, “OMG We haf seen teh Ceiling Cat’s Kitten!” But him seded to dem, “His wounz–show dem to me.”

                26 Later him desipuls iz in teh house a gain, n Thomascat was wif dem. Though teh doors were locked, but Happy Cat waz liek “Oh hai! Purring fil u!”

                27 Den him seded to Thomascat, “My wounz–let me show u them. Srsly.”

                28 Thomascat seded to him, “OMG! U rulz!”

            2. You’ve been looking ad kiddie porn. You need an ice cream scoop.

      3. “What I mean is”

        Oh, they’ll tell you what you meant.

        1. And how to define “is”.

      4. Sorry for my comment above, Robby. I see I misread what you wrote.

        Yep, when you are facing the risk of losing your children to the hell that is juvie hall, all sorts of surrenders start looking preferable.

      5. LEAVE ROBBY ALONE! He’s just a millennial!

      6. But the deal includes “an admission of guilt.” Are you sure the charge they’re admitting to doesn’t require registration?

    5. My best friend’s sister makes $97 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her check was $14750 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go this website and Go to tech tab to start your work… http://tinyurl.com/zp242lj

    6. “That doesn’t make any sense!’

      “I don’t have to make sense. Pray I do not make less sense.’

      ——————

      “This deal is making less sense all the time.”

  2. Next up: 13-year-old boy arrested for molesting himself in masturbation marathon, “All his socks were stiff and crunchy” wails distraught mother

    1. It’s funny because he never has time to wash his socks, because he is too busy masturbsting.

    2. You win today. That was really, really funny. Coworkers looked at me like I was nuts.

      1. It will only get worse with the coworkers over time. Be prepared to defend yourself.

    3. Come on, SF! The story was about PICTURES, not physical abuse. That’s different.
      I expect the entire commentariat at Reason to turn themselves in immediately.

  3. Leaving the Police Department, the Does were confused why their daughter was being investigated by the police at all

    So they never actually paid any attention to how prosecutors actually behave until now.

    1. Normal, run of the mill people are blissfully ignorant of what statist scum does on a routine basis. Statist scum would not survive long otherwise.

    2. Likewise, while I approve of fighting this, I wonder about this comment:

      “Bull’s threat to prosecute Nancy criminally is completely without merit, and thus is made in bad faith as he has no, and can have no, reasonable expectation of obtaining a conviction of Nancy or an adjudication of Nancy as delinquent”

      Um, someone has no idea how the courts work, especially in cases like these. Innocence is no defense when charged with child porn.

  4. Yes, the notion of prosecution is stupid on steroids but I’m a bit taken aback by the parents trying to defend their daughter. She’s 14, folks. Maybe sending out pictures anywhere on the “racy” scale is not the sharpest idea. How about you give her a burner phone that can only handle calls for a while. And get the hell of my lawn.

    1. I’m a bit taken aback by the parents trying to defend their daughter.

      I’d be taken aback if they weren’t defending her from this horrid criminal charge.

      1. Not the charge, the behavior itself. Read the argument being made, not the one you want to deconstruct.

        1. They are making the smart, IMO, tactical decision to argue that what she did isn’t just not criminal, its not even really wrong.

          Its really hard to make the argument that its wrong, but legal, in this day and age.

          1. Again, the charge is ludicrous and my argument is not legal, it’s parental. Maybe their attempts at justification of their 14 year old’s actions is public posturing. I would hope what’s happening in the home sounds a bit different.

            1. I’m taking what they say publicly as their public position. I’m assuming its being done in the context of defeating this criminal charge. I also like their counteroffensive.

              What they do in their home, I have no idea, and frankly don’t much care.

            2. Why? Apart from having the public morals squad destroy her life, what’s wrong with sending pictures of herself to her friends?

              1. guess it depends on the pictures, Hugh. And stop arguing against a point I’m not making. The charge is stupid. Pretty sure I’d be having a discussion with my 14-year old daughter that sending out pics like this is not the smartest thing to do.

                1. wareagle, please read the post I actually posted. I will repeat the relevant passage so you don’t have to struggle with compound sentences:

                  what’s wrong with sending pictures of herself to her friends?

                  1. Hugh, it’s a bit like asking “what’s wrong with people in Charlotte engaging in protest?” Nothing, if you leave out the part about looting and assault. Nothing wrong with her sending pictures, either, and for the millionth time – the charges are ludicrous. Just can’t say I would be in favor of my 14-year old sending out pics that hit any part of the racy spectrum.

                    1. You noticed I didn’t actually mention anything about the charges right? Like I specifically excluded those from consideration in my original comment?

                      Why do you disapprove of a 14 year old girl sending pictures of herself to her friends? Please answer in the form of telling us that you think the charges are ridiculous.

                    2. Why do you disapprove of a 14 year old girl sending pictures of herself to her friends?
                      You keep leaving out the nature of some of the pics. Why is that? I would not want my 14-year old sending out even semi-provocative pics of herself to anyone. Read further down thread as to how this type thing tends to play out.

                      Please answer in the form of telling us that you think the charges are ridiculous.
                      The charges being ridiculous stands on its own. It’s actually possible to separate the charges aspect from the pictures and how parents might view them. Try it.

                    3. Got it. You’re determined not to answer a direct question. Your rhetorical evasions would have earned a perfect score, but the Russian judge docked you as a political protest against the Russian prevarication team being banned from the competition.

                    4. No, Hugh; I’m looking at it as a parent, not someone who sees state shock troops at every turn. And you didn’t ask “a direct question.” You asked a politician’s weasel-worded question, but if it makes you happy, there is nothing wrong with a teen sending pics to her friends. But sending out certain types of pictures is not a smart thing to do, which has been my only point in this whole thing.

                    5. Well Hugh, it’s real simple. Every action has a desired result. The desired result of sending naked or semi-naked pics of yourself to a teenage boy isn’t exactly one of the Mithraean mysteries; it’s intended to result in coupling, obviously. It is the height of irresponsibility to make choices whose consequences another will have to bear, and 14-year old girl who’s getting fucked is a tremendous liability to her legal guardian, both monetarily and otherwise, since she sure as hell isn’t going to be the one paying for treatment of any disease, costs associated with pregnancy, or even birth control. That is the tip of the iceberg as far as negative life impact of sexy time going awry, and parental concern is entirely appropriate here. Having had to explain to a teenage boy this week why running across a busy intersection may not be the best life choice, teenagers are fucking stupid and often don’t connect obvious ills to their actions not going the way they want — so yes, this is pertinent to parenting.

                    6. But sending out certain types of pictures is not a smart thing to do, which has been my only point in this whole thing.

                      So…you are passing judgment on the beliefs of the parents because they don’t match yours. You’d do something different…fine.

                      How about…since no one’s rights have been violated by her sending racy pics, the Does are free to raise their child in any manner they see fit and I’ll mind my own business?

                    7. So, you are saying that the results of sending out “certain types of pictures” and whether or not it is a “smart thing to do” is different depending on the values of the person sending them out?

                    8. You are alright in my book Frank, I don’t care what anyone says about you.

            3. I don’t care at all. It’s up to the parents. I don’t see anything objectively wrong with her sending sexy pictures. Teenagers are sexual creatures even if a lot of parents don’t want them to be. They probably need to smarten up about how digital images are probably going to be out there forever. But give how common that sort of thing seems to be, it doesn’t seem to be causing a lot of big problems except when the law gets involved.

              1. “Teenagers ……… need to smarten up…”

                *laughs*

        2. No young female Facebook friends, I suppose.

    2. They are in no small part defending their own right to parent her as they see fit.

      1. Don’t they realize that parenting is a matter best left to the authorities and random internet goobers?

        1. the authorities and random internet goobers

          Once people realize that the subsets of the two are pretty much a 100% intersection, then maybe we’ll see some real change. So much of our current hell we live in is due to so many people desperately trying to find the Shining Light From On High. Even here so much time is spent trying to differentiate candidate A from B from C as if the whole thing has any meaning. The people in authority aren’t ANY better than you or me. That’s true even if they think so or you think so or the asshole foaming at the mouth thinks so. Polish and erudition don’t make up for being human.

          1. ^^^This right here! I have had more arguments, mostly with liberals, who think because a person is some kind of government official they have become endowed with special knowledge and powers.

            1. They have faith if the system put that person there then they’re properly vetted and merit it ergo we must listen. No way government puts incompetent or corruptible people in charge; or people who don’t respect individuals and their rights. NO WAY.

              1. Quite the reversal form where those in charge today stood when they protested in the 60’s, other than Bernie though not many of them left.

      2. And I’m exercising my right to ask what the hell they’re thinking. Once more, the charge is the height of authoritarian stupidity, but the girl is 14. Maybe some boundaries would be a good idea.

        1. Try exercising disinterest. It’s creating an interest where there is NONE that starts the whole process that leads to this insane puritanism.

          1. What’s the worst thing that could happen, other than the criminal charges? Probably some jerk shares pictures of her with everyone and she gets embarrassed. Maybe some mean kids call her a slut.

            You should certainly try to set whatever boundaries for your own kids that you deem appropriate, but when it comes to other people’s kids, it’s firmly in the “none of my business or concern” pile.

          2. Try exercising disinterest. It’s creating an interest where there is NONE that starts the whole process that leads to this insane puritanism.

            Yes, this. And I’d add that while you have the absolute right to voice your opinion about the correct way to raise a child, without espousing that it should be criminal to do otherwise, there will be 10 statist assholes behind you nodding their heads who will want to make it a crime.

            Best to leave it alone and draw the moral line in the same place you draw the criminal line…that being where rights are violated.

          3. Try exercising disinterest

            Simple yet catchy. I’m saving that.

            1. exercising = feigning

        2. Didn’t you realize that your opinion on what constitutes good parenting – specifically disclaiming any role for the state to intrude or your own desire to force your beliefs on others – now amounts to a totalitarian dictate?

      3. In one photo, she was wearing boy shorts and a sports bra. In the other, she had removed the bra but her hair was fully covering her breasts.

        Doe’s own parents described the pictures as “less ‘racy’ than photographs they see in fashion magazines and on television every day.”

        Teenage CPA has no problem with their idea of parenting.

      4. “You called down the thunder… you tell them I’m coming and hell is coming with me!”

      5. true enough, and I’ll wager high stakes they ALSO are more than normally adamant AGAINST any government hooh hahs invading their own family territory and TELLING them how to parent.

        High marks for these parents telling grubermint to BUTT OUT. My guess is they are handing the training and behaviour issues with their daughter on very different terms than they are handing gubmint’s attempts at medding in what are certainly family affairs. Seems this Bull guy has poked the backside of a bigger and madder full who is far more determined than he is. This wimp gummint flunkie has likely never tangled with a Mad Mama Bear before. Hope he gets well clawed.

      6. They should not have that right, as the NAP applies to children (at least older children). Their daughter is self owning, and has the right to do whatever she wants.

    3. Do you have no exposure to human beings? is this your first time dealing with us as a species? or are you being intentionally dumb?

      1. did you miss the point of the argument or just ignore it?

        1. Did you have a point? it seems like you’re offended that the parents are dismissing her great crime of sending naughty pics.

          My point is that in this situation it’s exactly what you would expect someone to do, especially publicly.

          1. I’m not offended at all. I even pointed out that the parents’ response may well be public posturing and that at home, they are taking a different tack. I have daughters; can’t say the thought of their sending out certain pics would go over well.

            1. jesus christ wareagle,

              just lock your daughters up in a basement cell so they never become women and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.

    4. That’s entirely the business of her parents and entirely none of the business of the cops and prosecutors.

      1. did I say it was the cops’ business? All you folks intent on arguing a point that is not being made. I seem to recall a frequent poster here being accused of that often.

        1. So, what the hell IS your point? You don’t know what measure they are taking at home. The only part you actually can be sure of is that they are fighting absurd charges against their daughter. Unless you object to the resistance to this sort of morality policing, then it’s hard for one to grasp where you are going with this.

          1. If I understand correctly, he is asserting his opinion that the girl did something morally reprehensible but illegal and was making a judgement on the parents for not harshly punishing the girl and that defending her by saying the pictures were not that bad is different than how he would judge that if his daughter did the same.

            Were I in the situation I can’t say that I would not be upset/disappointed in my daughter or my own parenting but understand that my moral standards are not absolute and can understand the parents taking the stance that the pictures are not pornography and try to shelter their daughter from being publicly branded scarlet letter style for the rest of her life.

            So I get his argument, but don’t 100% agree with it.

            1. Sorry meant morally reprehensible but legal*

              1. No nips or pubes = legal

            2. If I understand correctly, he is asserting his opinion that the girl did something morally reprehensible but illegal and was making a judgement on the parents for not harshly punishing the girl and that defending her by saying the pictures were not that bad is different than how he would judge that if his daughter did the same.

              You sure are reading a lot into what wareagle said. Is this a habit? I suppose it passes the time.

    5. They restricted Doe’s phone access as punishment.

    6. She may even be kissing boys. I hope these parents get their act together.

    7. If my 14 year old daughter would engage in sexting I would do absolutely nothing about it, because it’s perfectly normal teenage behaviour.

      This Idea that people under 18 should be asexual is a particular american retardedness, not found anywhere else in the world. During the middle ages 14-16 was the typical age for marriage and getting children.

  5. “The trouble began last March, when two boys at Knoxville High School were caught using the school printers to print inappropriate photos of their classmates,”

    Thus fucking it up for everyone.

    1. That’s always the problem with kids. Someone has to be an idiot and ruin the fun for everyone.

      1. We expect young people to do some stupid things – what’s the excuse for the school employees who reported it, the prosecutor who made threats, or the adults that demanded these laws?

        1. Maybe that age does not equal maturity.

        2. I expect young people to be clever enough not to get caught (not that it excuses excessive or unreasonable punishments if they do get caught).

          Maybe that’s an unreasonable expectation. I managed to stay out of trouble as a teenager, but I suppose I can’t really say the same for most of my contemporaries with similar interests.

          1. ^^^This!^^^

            It was a point of pride for me and my buddies that we never got caught doing our “shenanigans.” It now seems as if it’s a badge of honor to so many to actually be caught.

    2. I remember getting caught in the 8th grade getting caught printing out ASCII nudes on the school printer.

      The teacher who caught us just sighed and told us to get out of the lab and never do it again. He didn’t even frisk us for the other copies of ASCII nudes we had already printed.

      We were rockstars for those printouts for next couple weeks. You kidz today with your fancy pr0n don’t know how good you have it.

      1. Printers?

        We had the Sears catalog underwear section and teh National Geographic.

  6. They are so fucked.

    The juvenile court system doesn’t give a shit about kids. The kids are sausage going through their production line.

    Since the hearings are secret, all sorts of insanity and injustice can happen without the community knowing about it.

    The prosecutors and the judges sit in case after case working with each other. Defense attorneys are only allowed in the room for their cases, and cannot watch what happens in other cases.

    The prosecutor thus has an advantage of knowing the judge’s thinking better than the defense attorney. And any injustice faces a huge hurdle to correct; a secret, formal appeal to an appelate court that will defer to the juvenile court.

    After all, the children aren’t being criminally prosecuted. They are merely facing a delinquency charge. Thus they need fewer due process protections. They are entitled to fewer protections.

    It’s for their own good, after all that they are given fewer protections, face an uphill battle, and it’s all kept secret.

    1. Well, duh, it’s not like kids can vote.

      Democracy FTW.

    2. I would think that’s why they are suing the Prosecutor; THAT trial won’t be secret.

  7. The prosecuting attorney has a twitter feed.

    https://twitter.com/marcoiaatty

      1. TopMan clause. And FYTW.

      2. As a parent human, he should be ashamed of threatening to put a kid on the sex offender list and ruining their life for teenage behavior. What a POS.

      3. Now we know why he’s so bitter.

        He and his family are disgusting slobs.

        1. I wonder if she’s single.

          1. No I feel terrible. Nobody deserves electro-gonorrhea.

        2. Eh, kind of below the belt to mock the daughter just because her dad is a repulsive asshole.

          1. At least we are not threatening his daughter with prison because she didn’t live up to our high moral standard.

            1. If she goes on a date without his approval, he will charge her with self-trafficking.

          2. Maybe we should charge him with creation of child pornography. Makes as much sense as what he’s pulling.

          3. Shush. There’s a good chance he’ll google himself and end up here. I want him to know the truth.

          4. Mocking little girls because their dads are repulsive assholes is a longstanding HyR tradition, so take your cultural imperialism elsewhere whitey.

    1. I guess the crimes against children conference didn’t cover idiot prosecutorss fucking up kids’ lives over essentially innocent behavior.

      1. It was a crimes against children conference – of course they were teaching their followers like Mr Bull how better to commit crimes against children – and he learned a lot!

    2. Looks like he’s a Santorum fanboy. Go figure.

      1. If there is a more smarmy, punchable face in politics than Ricky Sweatervest, I don’t know who it would be.

    3. From his twitter feed:

      “Ed Bull ?@marcoiaatty Aug 8

      “One of the most difficult and rewarding conferences I attend. #cacc2016”

      cacc is “Crimes Against Children Conference”.

      Shall we presume that he found it rewarding because it gave him lots of ideas on how to commit crimes against children?

      He learned well.

    4. One of those tweets was “What does your last name say about you?” The country attorney’s last name is Bull.

  8. More cutting-edge reporting from Bolla Soave.

    1. You know things like this are his beat. Complaining about it falls firmly in “don’t like, don’t read”.

      I mean it is 100% libertarian to be okay with the state overrunning the rights of families and kids over a sex themed panic.

      1. It’s not the topics he covers; it’s his constant hedging that annoys.

        1. This. If he thinks the hedging is going to placate the proggies or the authoritarians, he’s hopelessly naive.

          If he hedges because he honestly believes the proggy/authoritarian point has some validity, then he’s writing for the wrong publication (or it should be).

          1. Perhaps he hedges because he honestly believes that a good journalist acknowledges that there are two sides to every story and wants to come across as if he’s considered both sides equally before forming his opinion?

        2. I think it’s time to get over it. He obviously reads the comments, so he’s taken what he’s going to from our criticisms of his style.

          1. He gets paid either way, so what incentive is there to please the ingrateful slobs in the commentariat?

            1. Indeed. A lot of H&R commenters seem to think that we are the target audience for Reason articles. I don’t think that is so, despite their throwing a bone in from time to time.

        3. Perhaps I didn’t do a careful enough reading, but I don’t see much if any hedging in this article. I have seen him do the “Racism is obviously bad, but ” which I don’t see as hedging so much as making it clear exactly what he’s opposed to.

          1. It’s Robby hate. Even when he doesn’t do it, Robby wrote it so they must hate it…

            I don’t much care for the hedging, but Rico’s a good shit, as are 90% of the Reason writers.

      1. Godamnit, it was a link to a frushi story.

  9. Why is this so surprising. The government has always hated the concept of self-ownership. If you don’t own your body when you are consuming narcotics, then why should you own your body when you are taking pictures of it? You are taking unauthorized images of State property, peon.

  10. Doe’s parents wisely declined permission for Doe to speak with them, though they agreed to come to the police station themselves. … The Does were “perplexed,” … asked what the fuss was about?. Leaving the Police Department, the Does were confused why their daughter was being investigated by the police at all.

    A few weeks later, Juvenile Court informed them that Doe was accused of “Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.”

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this is the reason why police filed a complain: Doe’s parents were insufficiently compliant and had the temerity to question their judgment.

    1. I’d agree with that conclusion.

    2. Being a police officer means doing whatever you want. It means ruining lives for fun. It means filling out false reports and lying in court because you’re always right, even when you are not. It means getting away with theft, assault, and murder.

      Knowing and asserting your rights to the police means telling them they can’t do something. Knowing the law means contradicting their lies.

      Such actions must be punished because they go against the very core of what it means to be in law enforcement.

      1. There is one and only one legal obligation in this country: Obey. Breach that obligation, and you will be punished.

        Its not obey the law. Its obey the state, which means obey the agents of the state.

        Rule of law is dead.

        1. And when the rule of law infringes upon the rights of innocent people, the rule of law should rightfully die.

    3. “Failure to fellate police officer on lawful command.”

  11. He also “slut shamed” the girls, chiding them for sending enticing photographs to the boys.

    ZOMG this that sharia law that conservatives have been warning us about. We didn’t listen!

    1. He was just miffed they didn’t send any to him.

  12. A longish quote from Albert Jay Nock related to the subject.

    Once, I remember, I ran across the case of a boy who had been sentenced to prison, a poor, scared little brat, who had intended something no worse than mischief, and it turned out to be a crime. The judge said he disliked to sentence the lad; it seemed the wrong thing to do; but the law left him no option. I was struck by this. The judge, then, was doing something as an official that he would not dream of doing as a man; and he could do it without any sense of responsibility, or discomfort, simply because he was acting as an official and not as a man. On this principle of action, it seemed to me that one could commit almost any kind of crime without getting into trouble with one’s conscience. Clearly, a great crime had been committed against this boy; yet nobody who had had a hand in it? the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, the complaining witness, the policemen and jailers? felt any responsibility about it, because they were not acting as men, but as officials.

    1. That’s a great quote. Thanks for posting that, Homple.

      1. Ditto. Really puts things in perspective well.

        1. It’s from an article called “Anarchist’s Progress” from a collection of his essays collected in On Doing the Right Thing published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. I got it in a Kindle edition.

    2. And the sad thing is Nock was writing almost 100 years ago. NOTHING has changed, really. We just go through cycles of greater Force and lesser Force, in toto. Unfortunately we’re heading well upward in the use of Force.

      But, perhaps, I’m just extra sensitive as I was recently informed I have an “illegal bedroom”. I sleep in the basement in a full bedroom, but there’s no “escape route” should there be a fire. A situation I’ve pondered but doesn’t motivate me do anything differently. But it’s the notion of “illegal bedroom”. The nonsense of the term is amusing, or would be if I didn’t now have a sticky note in my “permanent file” with the village I live in. And, we all know, it’s just bullshit. If I pay for an escape window, THEN there’s a “legal” bedroom, and my property taxes go up. They’re not concerned about my well being, they’re concerned about the revenue they’re “losing”.

      But anyway….

      1. Nock’s writings are full of dead-on predictions of how things have developed.

    3. Nice. Thanks.

  13. “Sexting Ring?” Seriously?

    And how about this whopper:

    “Doe’s family was horrified to learn that she had sent inappropriate photos to a boy who had then violated her privacy and shared them with his friends.”

    Note to family: when you knowingly distribute “private” information to another person who is under no obligation to maintain confidentiality, the “private” information ceases to be private.

    1. Put a period after “boy”, and it makes much better sense.

    2. Disagree. Some types of information have a presumption of privacy. For example, nude pics. Still dumb to do it, though.

      1. No. We must teach our children from toddlers onward to expect that every electronic communication they make could appear on youtube, twitter, snapchat, or what ever hip social media app emerges in the future.

        1. Dumbster: a social media app that distributes nude photos to everyone except the intended recipient.

      2. Fourteen-year-old girl: dumb practically comes with the territory.

        But charging her with a sex offense is a level of dumb that makes her look like Einstein.

      3. The pictures at issue were not nude.

        1. Making the government action doubly egregious.

      4. A “presumption of privacy” is not enforceable, which makes any reliance on it dumb.

        1. To clarify, “punishable” is not the same as “enforceable”.

    3. Note to family: when you knowingly distribute “private” information to another person who is under no obligation to maintain confidentiality, the “private” information ceases to be private.

      On the contrary, privates are at the heart of the matter.

    4. Legally perhaps not, but fairly clearly there are social expectations at work.

      1. Well, if you expect teenage boys to not share sexy pictures of girls, you need to recalibrate your social expectations.

        1. True, but I’m not a 14 year old girl. We all like to think our chosen are exceptions to rules and trends. We’re idiots like that.

    5. He did not violate her privacy. She gave that up when she sent him the pictures. He violated her trust.

  14. Are we completely ignoring the fact that the prosecutor and his investigators get to see teen nude pics, which is possibly the ultimate goal?

    1. You are so in their head.

    2. +1 spank bank

    3. Heh. Inquisition21 has reported accounts of cops passing each other the kiddie porn and having a grand old time laughing about it.

      Then they go on the news and ask for extra pay and consideration because they have to deal with so much disturbing material.

      And of course they ask us to trust their account of what they saw, because it would be unlawful for anyone else to view the evidence.

    4. Yep. I feel like this is the prime motivator of this case, and most such cases.

  15. I am amazed that we haven’t seen violence in these types of situations. Kids are being threatened with life-ruining actions for laughable reasons. At some point a parent is going to snap.

    1. If I’m on that parent’s jury, I will never vote to convict.

      1. There would not be a trial, there would be a funeral.

    2. Most people know the violence would be counterproductive. The system will protect its own, even if it won’t protect (and may actively harm) you.

      1. Most people know no such thing. Most people are irrational creatures, barely beyond animals, acting largely on instinct with only the slightest veneer of being civilized.
        It’s not that these parents are rationally weighing outcomes and recognizing that resistance is counterproductive. it’s that they have been utterly brainwashed into thinking that they must “let the system work” and that the system is for their own good. Eventually someone is going to say, “hmmm…wait…the system is destroying my family. I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore”, and act accordingly.
        I’m just surprised we haven’t seen that yet. Or maybe it has happened and it was mis-reported as something else. Or maybe….they just do this to people whom they suspect won’t resist.

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  18. There’s lots of behavior, like fighting and vandalism, which has traditionally resulted in kids being suspended from school, but not sent to court, even though fighting and vandalism, for example, could be prosecuted as crimes.

    It seems that as the schools get squishier about actually suspending misbehaving students (racist! violation of due process! etc!), then the result is to call in the police more and more often.

    I don’t know if this case is an example of this situation, or just prosecutors stepping in regardless, but it sure would be nice if for low-grade offenses the kids simply got disciplined by the school and their parents – more efficient, and doesn’t screw with young lives.

    And what kind of BS mindset shrinks from *suspending* a student while being willing to call the cops on them? I think I know the answer – “thank God, we called the cops and now it’s not our problem anymore!”

    1. The current campaign against school discipline (because racism, etc.) will fairly predictably lead to more criminal referrals – or else turn schools into no-go zones. That’s the retarded binary choice to which we’re reduced when traditional school discipline is considered illegal and oppressive.

      1. The current campaign against school discipline (because racism, etc.) will fairly predictably lead to more criminal referrals – or else turn schools into no-go zones.

        This was tried in Tucson. It turned out poorly – schools were becoming no-go zones. They are trying to walk it back, but struggling with the fact that discipline gets imposed disproportionately on ethnic minorities.

    2. It seems that as the schools get squishier about actually suspending misbehaving students (racist! violation of due process! etc!), then the result is to call in the police more and more often.

      This is a bit of a conundrum: on a societal scale, it’s a reasonable argument that the sheer number of laws ensures more and more contact between LEOs and citizens, thereby raising the odds that an interaction will go wrong. But in schools, the notion of sanctions for behavior that justifies it is soft-peddled. Now, when kids learn at a young age that they can get away with shit, how well does that work out in adulthood when the circumstances are treated in a different manner?

  19. Where are the feminists??!!
    She made a choice. She is old enough to decide on her own to get an abortion – she is old enough to figure out the result of an electronic message.
    The parents should file charges against the prosecutor for child abuse due to the slut shaming incident.
    Or wait; here’s a thought – leave the kids alone.

  20. Our society is so terribly schizophrenic about sex.

    On one hand, it’s a sign of great mental instability to not express our sexual desires (and even worse when “society” doesn’t affirm these desires as valid). Indeed, it’s seen as progress that so many have the mental fortitude and courage to identify with a minority sexual preference or a sexual subculture as their primary identity.

    Yet, almost all ways to express any of these desires all through puberty are ruthlessly suppressed, seen as deviant, and are legally prosecuted. Even as an adult, god forbid that you bring money into it, that you’re attracted to the wrong sort of person (particularly a close family member), or that you’re romantically involved with more than one person at a time, or that you’re attending a university and your female partner has after-morning regrets.

    Who the hell thinks any of this is a good idea? There are more ways for a Puritan going through puberty to get their rocks off without social sanction than for a modern kid growing up in one of the most sexualized iterations of Western culture that has ever existed; there are also far more ways for that same kid to get in trouble with the law for acting on such all the way through university.

    1. There are more ways for a Puritan going through puberty to get their rocks off without social sanction than for a modern kid growing up in one of the most sexualized iterations of Western culture that has ever existed;

      I don’t know if I’d quite say that, if you are talking about 17th century sort of Puritans. Though I suppose a lot of girls going through puberty might have been getting married.
      Today, causal sex among teens is mostly socially accepted, porn is ubiquitous, masturbation is generally seen as healthy and normal. Though I suppose a lot of girls going through puberty might be getting married.

      Or am I misunderstanding?

      I agree on the split cultural personality regarding sex. But I think you might be overstating the degree to which things are suppressed. We hear about all the worst things that happen. I suspect young people haven’t changed their behavior all that much because of it, though. I’m not too tuned in to what college age or younger people are up to, so I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      It is a big mess, but people are still people and you can’t change that.

      1. Hyperbole for effect, though I do think it an example of that split cultural personality that early marriage would be considered appalling and an example of social control where casual sex among that same demographic (with a fair amount of social shaming and mockery surrounding the affair) is not.

        I do find that the culture is very Puritanical in its approach to sex while pretending not to be, which is to my mind worse because it means various arbitrary social mores dominate over intelligent, open approaches to sexuality under the guise of the latter.

        1. Society needs deviance to define itself in opposition to. As so many areas of sexual behavior formerly considered deviant have been moved into the realm of acceptability, the areas that continue to be considered deviant have to be come down on like a ton of bricks.

          But mainly, the prosecutor wants to be able to crow about shutting down a teen sexting exploitation ring on mailers before the next election.

    2. “On one hand, it’s a sign of great mental instability to not express our sexual desires (and even worse when “society” doesn’t affirm these desires as valid). Indeed, it’s seen as progress that so many have the mental fortitude and courage to identify with a minority sexual preference or a sexual subculture as their primary identity.”

      Only if those desires are teleiophilic.

      It’s not as bad in some places, but the Anglosphere is an utter mess of contradictions and hubris.

      It could end rather badly.

  21. Girls, let my clue you in on boys. I’m a guy so I know what I’m talking about.

    If you give a boy your secksie photos, he will share them with his friends. He might wait until he breaks up with you, but he WILL share them. That’s what boys do. Also, boys will ALWAYS brag to their friends about banging you.

    Not always true for men, but always true for boys.

    1. Girls, I would never share your pics. That’s why you should send me some.

    2. As if there are any girls here.

    3. That is not accurate.

      It should read that “Any boy you want to give your secksie photos to, will share them with his friends”. The boys you don’t want to give your photos to would likely protect them as a holy relic against any and all”

  22. Can someone please explain something to me.

    We all hear about the horrors that can come from sexting (teen or otherwise), but it seems to be that all of the so called dangers either come from potential legal ramifications which exist on the pretense that we need to protect people from themselves or from people being embarrassed.

    If people just stopped giving a fuck about images of their naked body existing out there somewhere there would not be a reason why sexting would actually be dangerous (well except for the cops but that is a different story).

    1. Exactly. We should pass a law mandating that people just stop giving a fuck about it. Problem solved.

    2. Stop making sense. You’re embarrassing the others.

      [Related, one of the implications of Rind et al (1998) is that almost all of the harm found in consensual sexual relations between adults and children stems from the reactions of authorities to it. When college students were asked about past experiences, almost no harm was found in cases where no authorities had found out. It is possible that any remaining harm was also caused by societal forces, rather than being inherent – we simply don’t have enough evidence to know.]

  23. Well at least the cops didn’t claim they were in fear for their life, shoot her, and then conveniently lose the body cam. In today’s world that is almost a win. In a proper world the prosecuting attorney would spend 3-4 years in prison for even pursuing this but then again its Iowa which less face it is a fiscally liberal socially conservative (read that authoritarian) shit hole that nobody should ever visit even on a dare.

  24. “Age of consent”-type laws have always been more about controlling the sexual behavior of young people than about protecting them from adults.

    1. False.

      Age of Consent laws were originally created to protect children from a particularly shitty type of adult: Prosecutors.

      At the time Age of Consent laws were created, there were many sexual acts that were considered crimes and punishable by law, but these Age of Consent laws protected children from prosecution.

      Given cases like this, it is clear that such laws were necessary.

      1. No. Age of consent laws were originally created to prohibit young women from marrying without their parents’ permission.

      2. There is no such thing as an age of consent law.

        What is called the age of consent comes from statutory rape laws.

  25. “School officials notified the police…”

    I cant remember ever hearing a good story that started with this line.

    “By now, there should be no remaining doubt: the (government’s) war on ______ is much more harmful to kids than ______ itself. ”

    Fill in the blanks with whatever you like and the sentence is still true.

    1. Bronyism?

      Not nearly enough has been done to protect children from bronyism.

      1. Ok, I will make an exception there. The menace of tiny, rainbow colored ponies and glitter should be killed with fire.

        1. Bronyism? Nuke it from orbit; follow it up with finely ground plutonium dust over all the land masses of the entire planet!

    2. There are only two things the police are competent at: locking people up, and shooting people. If you don’t want anyone locked up or shot, don’t call the police. Bear in mind that any time you do call them that regardless of your reason for calling, YOU could be the one locked up or shot.

  26. I thought a “sexting ring” was something you get out of a vending machine in shady public restroom.

  27. It is worth keeping in mind that many prosecutors engage in this kind of behavior. They see the people they prosecute as nothing more than objects and means to an end; that end being the advancement of their career. It is pure sociopathy.

  28. Ed needs his ass kicked

  29. Doe’s family was horrified to learn that she had sent inappropriate photos to a boy who had then violated her privacy and shared them with his friends. They restricted Doe’s phone access as punishment.

    Seriously? What would they have done if she’d *kissed* a boy, beat the shit out of her?

    What they should have done, should do, is beat the snot out of the little shit printing the pictures. Then sued the hell out of him. For the daughter? A quiet talking to, nothing more.

  30. This deal might make sense for kids who transmitted sexually suggestive pictures

    You’re trolling me here with this ‘the other side might have a point’ stuff, right? Because no – the deal doesn’t make sense for any of the kids who sent in pictures, no matter how sexually suggestive. Could be a pictured of a boy fellating an 18 in black rubber cock while having a horsetail buttplug inserted and a raging hard-on and that deal would still not make any sense – because he hasn’t actually done anything *wrong*.

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  32. I thought the SC had ruled long ago that nudes of kids are not pornographic unless they are sexually suggestive. Taking a pic of your topless 6 year old daughter running through the sprinkler is not child pornography for instance.

    1. If it’s the ruling I recall, that only applies to federal law. States are free to make their “child porn” laws as draconian as they wish.

  33. The following considerations, re the above article, strike me as germane:

    1. One might well question the judgement of a 14 year old, having sent the pictures, that while I’ve a description of, I have not actually seen. Has anyone else??
    2. The actions or antics of the local DA or county attorney seem to have progressed beyond a reasonable exercise of duly constituted authority, quite far beyond.
    3. It must be more than a little comforting to live in an area with so little actual crime that the forces of law and order, if one chooses that description, have so little real work to do, that they Ambulance Chase such poor fare as this.
    4. I guess that we shall see what we see here, however that said, it strikes me that the seriously misguided abuse of authority displayed here is indicative of a much more serious problem than the “sexting” antics of some school kids is.

    And the above is my 2 cents worth here.

  34. I am so hoping a giant comet strikes us.

  35. Yet again – only in America, that land of dual standards!

  36. Please let us know in this forum how this case concludes. Thank you.

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  43. “the Does asked what the fuss was about” WTF? Wow. Amazing parenting skills. This girl is going to be on a pole in 4 years. At any rate, it’s over reach. If she wants to be a wh*re and her parents are okay with her being a wh*re then so should the government. It’s not like she’s charging yet.

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