A high school quarterback is being charged with having “naked pictures of a minor” on his cell phone. But that minor is himself. That’s right, 17-year-old Cormega Copening, and his girlfriend are facing “sexting” charges, but he is actually being charged with having illicit photos of himself.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the charges stem from an incident last October. This led to charges against the couple last February.
Robby Soave, writing for Reason says, “one of the minors he supposedly exploited is himself—which raises an obvious question: how can a teen be old enough to face adult felony charges, but not old enough to keep a nude picture of himself on his phone?”
Investigators say that the “sexting” incident occurred while Copening was a student at Douglas Byrd High School last year.
“We seized his phone and while our investigators went through the phone they saw there were photos of himself and another person on the phone,” Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Swain added that in North Carolina, if you have a photo of anyone underage, it is a crime.
“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,” he added.
Leon Mack, the director of student activities for the Cumberland County Schools, defended the students, saying that “both Douglas Byrd and Jack Britt high schools did not violate eligibility requirements, and that neither school was made aware of the felony charges against the student.”
If Copening is convicted, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life… again, for having naked images of himself.
That is because “North Carolina is one of two states in the country (the other is progressive New York) that considers 16 to be the age of adulthood for criminal purposes,” Soave notes. “This mean, of course, that Copening can be tried as an adult for exploiting a minor—himself.”
Watch the local report below…