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Surprise! You’re a Criminal!

Picture this:
You’re a young man in grade 12 who’s dating this hot girl from your English class. You’ve been together long enough for things to be getting physical and one day, while she’s got a spare, she decides to send you a treat. She goes into the girl’s bathroom, slips off her panties, snaps a photo up her skirt using her cell phone, and e-mails it to your cell. Luckily you have your phone set to vibrate, since you’re in the bio lab, and you check the message when your teacher isn’t looking. You’re so proud that you have a gf who would send you a picture like this that you show it to your lab partner, so that he can be jealous. He’s impressed and begs you to send the photo to him, you shrug and oblige.
Two days later the cops come and arrest you for distributing child pornography. Turns out that your girlfriend’s dad found out about the photos she’s been sending you and called the cops. Turns out that the little 3 month difference in your ages does matter.

Sound impossible? Not to the 18-year-old young man in Alberta who is experiencing something just like this. His 17-year-old girl friend e-mailed him sexy nude photos of herself which he in turn shared with friends. Her dad found out, called the police and had him arrested. The case is going to court, and “experts” interviewed seem to think that the young man should be prosecuted. This would mean, at maximum 10 years in jail, at minimum 45 days in jail – not to mention that he’ll now have something that looks horrible on his permanent police record. Future employers will think he’s a pedophile because he dated a girl who was a few months younger than him and shared photos of her with friends (p.s. In case you were wondering, the age of consent in Alberta is 14).

Sure it was kind of an asshole-ish thing to do, sending photos of his girl friend around without her permission (if it was without her permission, we don’t actually know) BUT jail time and a serious mark on his record? That seems excessive to me. In my humble opinion, the punishment here does not seem to fit the “crime”.

What do YOU think?

21 comments to Surprise! You’re a Criminal!

  • Prospero

    Oh, lord. This is another one of those arguments against “zero tolerance” policies. Why did it become so hard for police, prosecutors, and judges to evaluate the greys between the extremes of black and white (e.g., who exactly was harmed here?) and assign penalties that actually fit the crime (probation? tossing the case after the two teens apologize to the miffed dad?)? Oh, right. Hysterical lawmakers appeasing the voters. Or something. Cue eyerolling.

  • Loving Annie

    Good Monday morning to you Shay.

    It doesn’t seem like a crime at all, given the boyfriend/girlfriend context.

    Far too much punishment for something innocent between a couple who are involved with each-other and close to age 18…

    Loving Annie

  • Desire X

    I send him those pictures all the time. As a matter of fact I’ve just about given up wearing panties to work any more. Too much hassle to move them out of the way.

    You realize that this father is probably going to be hated by his daughter forever. I wonder if he has the sense to realize that it’s not worth losing her completely?

    I would have killed my dad.
    I still would.

    kisses baby!


  • Shasta Gibson

    Reminds me of an incident recently where one of my younger siblings showed me a photo of their (underage) friend passed out with his pants around his ankles. Yes, his junk was in clear view. I suppose being in Alberta I might want to warn them that they are distributing ‘child porn’ since I know that photo made the circut between all their friends. Yeesh.

    I’m not speaking out against protecting minors from predators, and I don’t think that child pornography should be allowed. However, I think that a little intelligence should be used in situations like this.


  • <b>Who Are We?</b>

    This is the sad thing about using a set age as the determiner for prosecution, especially when it comes to the senior year in high school, when so many seniors turn from 17 to 18.

    I don’t know if the law is the same, but in Colorado they don’t have a set age, but instead have established a 5 year difference…which all things considered, might not be the best span of years as that allows an 18 year old to have sex with a 13 year old. But I guess it certainly protects the 17/22 year old couples.

  • Rae

    Oh jay-sus. Yeah, asshole thing to do sending the pics out, but 3 MONTHS? I’m in law school, so I take stuff like statutory rape fairly seriously, but the girl sent the pictures out herself.

    Ridiculous, and I agree with HER, that dad is going to be so hated by his daughter, if he gives a damn at all he’ll be regretting that in the not too far future.


  • Narcissu

    idiot. knowing how stupid are the laws he should have kept his porn to himself. age diference does not matter in this case. well as lont as it not too much. he knew the law and made a stupid atc. now he pays for it. he should have just masturbated with the pics and kept them for himself.

  • Sugardaddy

    You want another example try Genarlow Wilson in GA. He was 17, had very consensual oral sex w/15 year old young lady (it was filmed). He is currently doing 20 years hard time.
    OK if he was 27 and did it, I would say fry his ass but 17 to 15 gimme a break.

  • Sonimon

    Okay, I know that the guy didn’t mean any harm, but he REALLY shouldn’t have shared the photo with friends. It’s just common sense in this day in age.

    And THAT’S what I think.

  • Bad Bad Girl

    I think that’s insane!!! It’s like claiming statutory rape on his 18th birthday!! Perhaps Daddy needs to have a talk with his ‘little girl’ and leave that boy alone!!!

  • exile

    well, i think he is definately a douche, but i don’t know about jail.

    if they were both 17 and getting it on regularly, then he turned 18 3 months before her would they have to stop having sex so he’s not a pedophile?

  • A Nawty Mouz

    The issue is not that he had sex with a minor, since she’s over the age of consent in that locality (according to Shay above).

    The issue is that he distributed child pornography.

    So, IMHO, the distributor should not get a more severe penalty than the photographer (her). The photographer should not be exempt in this case, either. And, she should be tried in juvenile court for taking and distributing child pornography.

    Or, neither should be charged.

    “Fair is fair!”

  • zkid

    How, if she is over the age of consent, is this ‘child’ pornography? Surely if a person is of legal age to be engaging in sexual acts, that should include all sexual acts, including photography that is of a sexual nature.

  • Anonymous

    Technically, the GF is guilty of making child pornography.

    In some cases in the USA the underage person taking the photos of themselves have been charged for making porn.

    If he’s guilty, so is she in this case.

  • twg

    Wow, this is pretty bad.

    1. Young women, unfortunately, should know better than to take racy pictures of themselves for young men. While I might trust, say, my 30 year old boyfriend with those, I would not trust any 18 year old boy with the same.

    2. The feeling that her father is prosecuting this over his “damaged property” is pervasive (to me) and makes me uncomfortable.

    3. While it was a real dick move to forward on those pictures, I don’t believe that the punishment is appropriate. But I wouldn’t say that I necessarily disagree with him receiving some sort of punishment, whether via community service or probation, either.

  • Shay

    Nawty and Anon – that’s what a bunch of us were thinking too!

  • Cayman J

    Once again a prime example of how there is no one size fits all for the law as the prosecuters try and make it. I live in the states and I hear about cases like this all the time it sucks. Just because there are a bunch of sickos out there that molest children an 18 yr old can’t get head from his 17yr old girlfriend depending on what state they live in. I feel that if they are within three years of age of each other and they are both above the age of consent then a case by case basis should be assessed and no just lumped in with everything else. but that’s just me.

  • LittleLady

    Oh, that’s horrible! I know for a fact lots of girls in my class send pictures to their boyfriends and not all of them have trustworthy boyfriends. But to put some poor guy in jail. I mean, I know for a fact my mom was doing things like that back when she was seventeen and my dad was nineteen and they are still happily married. (They don’t know I found some snaps from the seventies and eighties.) They should start a protest…I mean, c’mon, I have three brothers and I wouldn’t ever want anything to happen to them like that. Poor guy.

    And I thought Canada was a reasonable country.

  • Mabel Crompton

    I’ve been reading your site for ages, Shay, and it figures that my first comment will be the minority viewpoint!

    I think 45 days is an entirely appropriate punishment. It doesn’t matter if she took the photos herself, it doesn’t matter that they were dating. He is an 18 year old person, a legal adult, who sent around a nude picture of someone under the age of 18, a legal child. Their relationship to each other doesn’t matter because the law doesn’t provide a “but I knew her” exclusion when people break the law. For more information on that, see rape laws and domestic violence laws.

    Anonymous, a person cannot commit a crime against themselves. She can take all the pictures of herself she wants to in whatever manner whether she’s 5 or a day less than 18. The law steps in when an adult steps in. I’m not sure, but I doubt that (I hope that he wouldn’t) he’d get in trouble simply from her sending him the picture and him doing nothing but looking at it. Technically he’d be in possession of child porn, I suppose, but I have a hard time imagining a DA that would prosecute him on that alone.

    Oh, here:
    “Even though there was a reasonable chance of conviction, they may have exercised their discretion not to prosecute if he had simply received the photos,” said Anand.

    ZKid, the age of consent to have sex has nothing to do with the age of consent to engage in pornography. They are two entirely different legal entities. I wonder if you could get around it by having two 16 year olds having sex, another 16 year old working the camera, another 16 year old directing, and only showing it to other 16 year olds?

    Frankly, I’m not sure how you can read this:
    17-year-old girl took a series of nude photographs of herself and e-mailed them to the man’s cell phone and he later showed them to other people.
    And assume that her father simply views her as damaged property. Does no one remember high school? She’s probably completely ostracized, people are calling her a slut, and the pictures have been seen by the entire school. I imagine either she’s coming home crying and her parents worked the story out of her, the school authorities figured it out quickly enough and called her parents, or another student/friend/sibling told her parents.

  • Shay

    That’s what I was guessing too, that she was upset and told her parents about it, it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that a parent would randomly find out about – though that is entirely possible too (through friend connections or something).

  • Anonymous

    Sure, he “technically” broke the law, but this is ridicules.

    Direct quote:
    “But, as soon as you start sharing the pictures with others, you have technically become a child porn distributor.”

    Key word, “technically.” Our child porn laws are inadequate for cases like this.

    Direct quote:
    “Defense lawyer Brian Hurley, president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, called it a ‘problematic’ case regarding the child pornography distribution charge, but said it also illustrates shortfalls in our child porn laws.

    Hurley noted the legislation doesn’t reflect changes in current society such as people becoming sexually active at younger ages and the growing use of technology, such as cell phone cameras and webcams, in everyday life.

    ‘I think our laws need to be changed,’ said Hurley.”

    Look at the age of consent, 14. You can have sex, but you can’t share pictures, on a technicality?! Sure, the age for child porn ends at 18, but think for a second, and tell me why that law is there in the first place. It is not some universal, divine mandate. It is merely an age that some lawyers way back when thought would be the age when most people could be considered mature enough to be treated as an adult.

    Child porn laws are there to protect “innocent” youngsters from being traumatized by having their nude selves publicized before they had the maturity to realize that was wrong. The age chosen for this law was 18, not because it makes sense, so much as because that was the “legal” age at which someone becomes an adult. I think the girl in this case was well aware of what was happening and should not be viewed as a minor. (and she’s so friggin’ close anyways) It is her own fault for trusting an untrustworthy guy with her nude photos.

    The law would have no effect if the guy was a year younger or the girl was a year older, but because of that magic age of 18, he is now facing YEARS in JAIL because he showed his friends some pics of his gf! What a way to ruin some poor guy’s life!

    I realize something worse may have happened to cause the father to find out, (most of the school finding out and teasing her) but still, up to 10 years jail time for the guy?! I realize that laws were broken, and that those at fault ought to have been more aware and cautious of these laws, but frankly, these laws have always irritated me. Some d**kwad in court should not be able to tell me when I can and can’t have sex or when I can take/share/view nude photos, willingly taken. These lawyers need to get a life.

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