Teen is Charged with a Sex Crime for Nude Photos of Self on Phone

Posted by Keith Hall | Oct 05, 2015 | 0 Comments

In North Carolina, a 17 year old teen and high school quarterback recently found out, the hard way, that a person can still be charged with possession of child pornography for having nude pictures of themselves or someone else on their cell phone, if those persons are underage.  Some minors believe that because they are minors themselves, they cannot be charged with child pornography offenses.  It is a mistake to believe this, as the 17 year old unfortunately discovered.  

Cormega Copening had exchanged nude photos of himself, with similar photos of his girlfriend Brianna Benson, while the two were 16 years old. The photos came to light when his mother granted police permission to examine his cell phone regarding an unrelated case, in which he was not even a suspect.  His mother, seeking to help the authorities, let them examine his cell phone.   When the police searched his phone, they found five sexually explicit photos, that the teen and his girlfriend had exchanged.  

Here at Newton & Hall we recommend that no one ever consent to a search, for these very reasons. Click here to see what to do if threatened with arrest, or arrested. 

Mr. Copening and his girlfriend both ended up being convicted of the crime of "disseminating harmful material to minors", and will now have criminal records, for something that was done in private between themselves.  This could have been prevented in many ways, but one of the most important from a legal perspective, is to never speak to the police or ever consent to a search.  You should only ask for an attorney, if questioned by police officers or detectives.  

Now this young man and woman will have a criminal history that will follow them around, and make it difficult to secure employment and housing.  The law does not always make sense.  See more about this situation, in this Time Magazine article here.  If you know someone similarly situated, feel free to contact the sex crime defense attorneys at Newton & Hall for a consultation.  

About the Author

Keith Hall

Keith is our firm's lead criminal defense attorney.

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