Yes you read that correctly. A North Carolina teen, 17, could spend up to 10 years in jail for possessing photos of a minor. He is also in hot water for sexual exploitation of a minor — and that minor happens to be himself. He is also being charged for possessing a naked photo of he and his girlfriend.
It all started when Cormega Zyon Copening’s phone was taken by the police after he had a “confrontation” with another student at school. Investigators looked at his photos and found that there were two naked photos of himself and a naked photo of he and his girlfriend, Brianna Denson.
On July 21, Denson told the court that she was responsible for sexting the photo of she and Copening. As part of a plea bargain, she was given a misdemeanor and probation.
Copening, the starting quarterback for his high school, and Denson were both 16 at the time the sext was sent.
Copening wasn’t as lucky as his girlfriend. The agency hit him with five sexual exploitation of a minor charges – four for making and possessing two sexually explicit pictures of himself and the last for possessing a copy of the picture that Denson made for him.
The question remains… why is he being charged with having naked photos of himself on his own phone?
According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the law as it is written, a minor is not allowed to possess nude photos of him or herself on a phone.
If charged, he could face up to 10 years in jail.
While it makes sense to protect minors against sexual exploitation, some are arguing that the case against Copening appears to be overkill.
“You’re talking about millions of teens being charged with child pornography,” said psychologist Jeff Temple. “Our resources should (spent) more on education and not on punishment with this type of sexting… More education with respect to actual sexual behavior… and more information on healthy relationships and what healthy relationships look like.”