UPDATE: Police won't take sexually explicit photos of teen in sexting case

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 10, 2014 

Update: Manassas City police have dropped their plan to take sexually explicit photos of the 17-year-old boy, officials told Yahoo News Thursday.

Police "will let a search warrant authorizing the photos to expire."

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Virginia police are facing public scrutiny after allegations that police wanted to take photos of a teenage boy's erect penis while collecting evidence in a "sexting" case.

Police in Manassas City, Va., released a statement to the Washington Post yesterday saying it had opened a child pornography case against a 17-year-old after he sent "pornographic videos ... after repeatedly being told to stop.”

The boy's lawyer, Jessica Harbeson Foster, said the case began in January "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," according to the Post. The girl's mother filed a complaint.

The boy faces two felony charges in juvenile court, manufacturing and distributing child pornography. Foster said the girl has not been charged.

The case was dismissed last month "on a technicality," but charges were soon refiled.

The boy's family say police have already taken photos of his penis, though Prince William County Commonwealth officials dispute that.

"He said they took him to a room and took pictures of his genitalia," the boy's aunt told WRC News4. "I asked if they’re allowed to do that, and (the boy) said, 'I tried to refuse,' which he did, he didn’t want to do it -- they told him if he did not they would do it by force."

Per the Post, "The case was set for trial on July 1, at which time, Foster said, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson II told her that her client must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant for comparison to the evidence from his cellphone.

"Foster asked how that would be accomplished and said she was told that 'we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.'"

A judge allowed the boy to leave the state before he complied with the search warrant. He will return to court on Tuesday.

The boy's guardian ad litem, Carlos Flores Laboy, said the entire situation was "incredible."

“They’re using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner,” Flores Laboy told the Post. “The irony is incredible.”

In that same statement, Manassas City police said it is not the policy of law enforcement or prosecutors "to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in ­cases of this nature, and no such procedures have been conducted in this case.”

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