A 17-year-old North Carolina boy is being criminally charged as an adult for having sexually explicit pictures of a minor. The photographs in question are pictures he had of himself.
In other words, Cormega Copening is being charged as an adult for having pictures of Cormega Copening, because Cormega Copening is a minor. Horrified yet?
According to authorities, the boy is both adult and child—perpetrator of a crime against himself, and simultaneously the victim of a crime committed by himself.
Keep reading for more on this madness.
[The case is in] North Carolina, where the age of criminal responsibility is 16, [and he] is facing two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation and three counts of third-degree exploitation. The third-degree charges of sexual exploitation of a minor actually stem from the pictures Copening had of himself. […]
“In North Carolina you are considered an adult at 16 years old as far as being charged,” said Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department. “But to disseminate and receive sexually explicit texts, photos or videos, you must be over 18.”
Police were apparently "investigating another incident" when they took the boy's phone and found explicit messages between the boy and his 16-year-old girlfriend. (Again, the boy is only 17.)
The stakes are high. Each of these five charges is a felony and equals at least two years in jail per charge. If convicted, the boy would also be added to the sex offender registry.
Of course, prosecutors have ample discretion and could decide to not charge him. After all, the law makes no sense in this case.
But, to the surprise of no one, they have filed charges against this young boy of color.
We'll be following this case.