A 17-year-old boy is facing 10 years in prison after being charged as an adult for having sexually explicit photos of a minor – himself.
Cormega Copening, from North Carolina, where the age of criminal responsibility is 16, is facing two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation and three counts of third-degree exploitation. The third-degree charges of sexual exploitation of a minor actually stem from the pictures Copening had of himself. Each count is a felony charge carrying at least two years in jail.
“In North Carolina you are considered an adult at 16 years old as far as being charged,” said Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department. “But to disseminate and receive sexually explicit texts, photos or videos, you must be over 18.”
Authorities said the sexting charges came about when police took Copening’s phone while investigating another incident. Officers discovered ‘sext’ messages between Copening and his 16 year old girlfriend.
Both teenagers were charged as adults for the sexual exploitation of minors – themselves – for taking and possessing naked photos. His girlfriend took a plea deal on a misdemeanor charge of ‘disseminating harmful material to minors’.
District Court Judge Stephen Stokes sentenced her to one year of probation without access to a phone, a $200 fine, and a class on making smarter life decisions.
If convicted, Copening’s name would be added to sex offenders registry. He has a Sept. 30 court appearance.
The charges have resulted in the teenage quarterback being dropped from his high school football team.