|Prince William Co VA's DA Paul Ebert|
Monday, July 14, 2014
Manassas City cops sought to make child pornography to prosecute child pornography
I honestly can't write a headline worthy of the insanity that has surrounded this crazy case. Here's the rundown-- A 17 year old boy takes a picture of his penis and sent it to a 15 year old girl (the girl sent naked pics of herself to the boy but was not charged for some reason). The girl's parents call the cops, and the cops charge the 17 year old boy with possession AND manufacturing child porn. It isn't enough we're wasting resources on a such a silly investigation, but a funny thing happened on the way to trial. It seems the police came up with a brilliant idea-- they were going to take the kid to the hospital, give him a shot of something to give him an erection, and take a picture of the boy's erect penis to compare with the photos he sent to his girlfriend.
Yes, this actually happened:
Foster said the case began when the teen’s 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, who in turn sent her the video in question. The girl has not been charged, and her mother filed a complaint about the boy’s video, Foster said. The male teen was served with petitions from juvenile court in early February, and not arrested, but when the case went to trial in juvenile court in June, Foster said prosecutors forgot to certify that the teen was a juvenile. The case was dismissed, but police immediately obtained new charges and also a search warrant for his home. Police also arrested the teen and took him to juvenile jail, where Foster said they took photos of the teen’s genitals against his will.
The case was set for trial on July 1, where Foster said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson told her that her client must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant “for pictures of his erect penis,” for comparison to the evidence from the teen’s cell phone. Foster asked how that would be accomplished and was told that “we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.”
Then, after the story broke, the Manassas City PD released a statement justifying their actions:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Juvenile Sexting Case
On January 23, 2014 Manassas City Police was contacted by a parent of a 15 YOA female juvenile who was sent pornographic videos by a 17 YOA male suspect after repeatedly being told to stop. Upon further investigating the incident charges of manufacturing and distributing child pornography were brought against the 17 YOA male suspect on January 28, 2014 after consultation with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. The matter was set for trial on June 4th 2014 where charges were nolle prosqui by a Prince William County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney.
The circumstances on the decision to dismiss charges and bring forward new charges cannot be released at this time due to this incident being an active investigation and involving juveniles. New charges of manufacturing and distributing child pornography have been brought forward and a court date is pending.
It is not the policy of the Manassas City Police or the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case. Beyond that, neither the Police Department nor the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office discusses evidentiary matters prior to court hearings.
Adrienne E. Helms
Crime Prevention Specialist &
Public Information Officer
Manassas City Police Department
9518 Fairview Ave
Manassas, VA 20110
Thankfully the police did not follow up with this crazy warrant (though apparently the case is still being prosecuted).
The prosecutor, Paul Ebert, has already been on a similar award list, Radley Balko's list of "Worst Prosecutors in America" on The Agitator, a privilege he has had at least three times now. Add a potential Shiitake award to the list.
By the way, did you know that John Wayne Bobbitt and his demented penis-severing wife Lorena lived in Manassas when she chopped it off?