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North Carolina sex police: Charging teen as adult for being a minor

By Robby Soave . . . A North Carolina 17-year-old caught in a sexting scandal faces charges of sexually exploiting a minor that could land him in jail for up to 10 years, since the law considers him an adult. But one of the minors he supposedly exploited is himself­—which raises an obvious question: how can a teen be old enough to face adult felony charges, but not old enough to keep a nude picture of himself on his phone?

Unfortunately, that’s the Kafka-esque nightmare in which Fayetteville-area high schooler Cormega Copening finds himself after exchanging private nude photos with his girlfriend—with whom he is legally allowed to have sex, but not to sext.

I wrote about Copening’s story on Tuesday. Since then, I’ve learned new information that makes the local sheriff’s office’s actions seem even more ludicrous.

But first, to recap: Copening and his girlfriend—now identified as Brianna Denson—are like other teenagers in that they have more than a passing interest in sex. Indeed, when they were 16, they exchanged racy sexy photos via text message. Denson sent pictures to Copening, and Copening sent pictures to Denson. It appears that no one else saw the pictures until local authorities searched Copening’s phone and discovered them.

Why did they search his phone? It’s not clear, but local news reports claimed that it had nothing to do with the sexts themselves. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment. According to fayobserver.com, there is no record of a search warrant being issued for Copening’s phone.

Both teens were charged with sexual exploitation. Denson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was given 12 months of probation.

Copening, however, is still facing two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation and three counts of third-degree exploitation. As Ricochet’s Tom Meyer points out, the third-degree charges—which constitute a majority of the total charges—actually stem from the pictures Copening had of himself. The implication is clear: Copening does not own himself, from the standpoint of the law, and is not free to keep sexually-provocative pictures, even if they depict his own body.

But consider this: North Carolina is one of two states in the country (the other is progressive New York) that considers 16 to be the age of adulthood for criminal purposes. This mean, of course, that Copening can be tried as an adult for exploiting a minor—himself.  (See full article on Reason.com)

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Michael Lewis 1 month ago.

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  • #11005 Reply

    Michael Lewis

    Only in NC can such abuse of power be gotten away with. They are famous for it.They have a knack for finding a crime where there is no crime. Believe me I have felt their abuse of power and position of trust. Communisum at its finest. They will fabricate evidence when they can find none.How many 8 year olds say “he made us perform sexual acts”?

  • #11004 Reply

    Maestro

    Well….here’s one for the passport identifier. This kid is surely a monster just waiting to attack. *rolls eyes*

  • #11003 Reply

    Phil

    “Doesn’t OWN himself”????!!!! Well then WHO owns him?

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