North Carolina Teen Could Face 10 Years in Jail for Having Nude Pictures of Himself

September 3rd 2015

Alex Mierjeski

In one the more inane legal cases involving sexting in recent months, a 17-year-old North Carolina teen is facing sexual exploitation charges for sending nude photos of himself via text messages to his girlfriend.

But in a Kafakaesque twist, Cormega Copening faces five counts of second- and third-degree sexual exploitation as an adult for exploiting a minor—himself.

North Carolina is one of two states that considers 16 the age of criminal responsibility—the other is New York—but it is illegal in the state for anyone under 18 to send or receive sexually explicit photos with a cell phone, a local ABC affiliate station reported.

"Simple possession having it on your cell phone is a charge itself, and if you should send it out to another person that is another charge," Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office told ABC11. Reports indicate that investigators found the photos while searching the phone for another incident, but it is unclear what that incident was.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's did not respond to several requests for comment by ATTN:.

According to quotes from the sheriff's office given to the Independent, the minimum felony charge would mean two years in prison for Cormega, and at least 10 if found guilty on all counts. Cormega's name would also have to be added to the national sex offender registry.

Brianna Denson, Cormega's girlfriend, was facing similar charges, but had them dropped in July after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge and agreeing to a year of probation, the Fayetteville Observer reported. Cormega was charged with taking and possessing photos of himself and one he had received from Denson. The teen's next court date is set for later this month.

"There are different ages for different things. You need to be 21 to drink alcohol," explained Sgt. Swain to the Independent. "It's just the way the law is written."