crimesider

Police back off on plan to take explicit photo of accused teen sexter

McLEAN, Va. -- Police in Virginia said Thursday that they no longer will pursue efforts to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old in an effort to prove a sexting case against him.

Police and prosecutors faced a wave of criticism following media reports that they had obtained a warrant to take photos of the teen's erect penis. Police wanted the pictures to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time.

On Thursday, Manassas Police Lt. Brian Larkin said the Police Department will not proceed with the plan to take the pictures and will let a search warrant authorizing the photos to expire.

Police had threatened to take the teenager to a hospital and medically induce an erection, defense lawyer Jessica Harbeson Foster told The Washington Post.

Privacy advocates had criticized the plan as a violation of the teen's constitutional rights.

The teen's aunt, who serves as his legal guardian, said she had not heard of the police department's reversal until contacted by an Associated Press reporter Thursday afternoon. She said she would be ecstatic if police follow through on their statement that they will no longer pursue the photos. But she said she won't be fully satisfied until the case against her nephew is dropped entirely.

The teen is charged in juvenile court with felony counts of possession and manufacture of child pornography. The aunt maintains that the charges are overblown and said the plan to pursue photos of her nephew in an aroused state came about only after she and her nephew refused to accept a plea bargain that had been offered.

Larkin said he had no information on why the department no longer plans to pursue the photos. On Wednesday night, the department issued a statement saying it was not their policy "to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature" but made no definitive statements about whether they would continue to pursue the photos that had been specifically authorized in the search warrant.

Foster told the Washington Post that the 17-year-old "sexted" a video to his then-girlfriend after she sent photos of herself to him.

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