Teens Charged With Having Pictures Of Themselves

Two Florida teens have been arrested for being in possession of naked pictures of themselves.

Florida authorities are cracking down on 17-year-old girls seeing pictures of themselves naked:

A 17-year-old Cape Coral girl has been charged with child cruelty and possession of obscene material for depicting the sexual performance of a child after authorities found pornographic images of herself on her phone, computer and her MySpace page. The teen was charged Thursday.

Investigators found 42 photos with eight meeting the criteria for explicit sexual performance on the teen’s phone, according to Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Sheehan.

According to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report:

On May 4, the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received 11 Cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children containing pornographic images of a female juvenile on MySpace. The female in the images appeared to take the pictures of herself in various stages of nudity.

On May 11, Investigators were able to determine the girl’s identity and the fact she is a student at Ida Baker High School through the Web site http://www.myyearbook.com and by consulting with school resource officers.

The teen told investigators she took several pictures of herself in different areas of her house and uploaded them to her MySpace account to lighten them. She then e-mailed the photos to her cell phone and sent them to her current boyfriend and two ex-boyfriends.  Five photos of sexually explicit conduct were found on the teen’s computer.

On July 27, a 14-year-old North Fort Myers girl was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and was later charged with cruelty to a child after deputies say they found pornographic photos of her on her cell phone.

Granting that the girls clearly intended to distribute the photographs, this strikes me as a victimless crime.  Surely, the girls have seen themselves naked at some point.  And, taking a leap of faith here, I’m guessing same is true of their boyfriends.

And, in any case, “child cruelty” seems a particularly odd charge here.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Technically, of course, it was distributed once it was posted on MySpace but this is just the latest example in the irrational way that some law enforcement agencies have treated this whole “sexting” phenomenon.

    Criminal prosecution seems way over the top for what was clearly, like you said, a victimless crime and just the latest example of a technology-induced fad among teens. That said, these kids need to understand that once they post a picture like that it never really disappears. I suppose the criminal charges are intended to “teach them a lesson” but there’s got to be a better way to do that.


  2. Steve Verdon says:

    Nope, quite typical.  I’ve already told my son,


    1.  Never take any pictures of yourself in any state of undress with a cell phone–sending a picture of your butt to a friend might seem like a funny thing, but if the cops see it it wont.

    2.  Never, ever trust a cop.  He is not your friend, he doesn’t care about you, and will lie to you.

    3.  If a cop ever questions you your answer is, “I want my dad,” or “I want my mom.”  Just repeat that over and over and say nothing else.  Ever.

    4.  In any other dealings with a cop, see rule 2.


    I’d recommend the same to anyone with a child these days.

  3. Franklin says:

    Next up – charging a suicide victim with murder.

  4. Michael says:

    On the same note as Franklin, I suppose we’ll have to start charging kids with child molestation when they masturbate.  We’re gonna need a whole lot of prisons to hold all these sex offenders.

  5. JKB says:

    Yes, nothing will teach a teenager a lesson better than a lifetime on the sex offenders list.  As for the child cruelty charge, who says the photos she took of herself caused her unnecessary pain and suffering?
    Better to tell your daughter (or son) that any naked photos they take of themselves are likely to end up confiscated for the use of police, prosecutors, judges and court employees in official proceedings with nothing to stop them from being used for “private” study either from memory and often by duplication.
    The SCOTUS has ruled more than once that the police cannot be trusted.  They are permitted, encouraged and often required to lie in the performance of their official duties.  And they cannot be held accountable for those lies legally or morally.  Okay, actually the SCOTUS has ruled the the police can lie to suspects but by simple logic that means they can’t be trusted since they are not required to notify they feel a lie is permissible.

  6. mike says:

    the only difference between cops and criminals in many cases is the uniform