Prosecutors in a Virginia sexting case have reportedly obtained a search warrant to take pictures of a teenage boy's erect penis.
Prince William County prosecutors are hoping to use the photos as evidence that the 17-year-old boy's erection is the same one seen in a "sexting" video allegedly sent to his 15-year-old girlfriend, The Washington Post reports.
The story has many wondering: Can police actually do this?
Alleged Sexting Leads to Child-Porn Charges
A juvenile court magistrate signed off on the search warrant last week, Washington, D.C.'s WRC-TV reports. If convicted of felony possession of child pornography and felony manufacturing child pornography, the teen could face incarceration until he's 21 as well as lifetime inclusion on a state sex offender registry.
According to the teen's lawyer, police already took photos of the boy's genitals against his will once, when he was arrested in June.
But now, his lawyer says police and prosecutors want to induce an erection by injection at a local hospital and photograph the boy's erect penis. They then plan to use "special software" to compare it to the penis in the video.
Under Virginia's search warrant procedures, search warrants are sealed until after they are served, so it's not entirely clear why investigators feel an erection pic is necessary in this case. Prosecutors declined to comment to The Washington Post.
Prior Penis Pic Warrants
Search warrants allowing investigators to photograph genitals are rare, but they're not unheard of. Arguably the most famous was a search warrant served on pop star Michael Jackson in connection with allegations of child abuse. However, pictures that purportedly showed "distinctive blemishes" on Jackson's genitals were never actually shown in court, according CNN.
In the Virginia teen's case, his lawyer says she hopes to prevent the teen from having to comply with the search warrant, though she did not elaborate.
The juvenile court magistrate allowed the teen to leave the area for the Fourth of July holiday, without the warrant being served. It's not clear when that will happen, but under Virginia law, any search warrant not executed within 15 days of issuance will be voided.
- Report: Police Get Warrant To Photograph Teen's Erect Penis In Sexting Case (Talking Points Memo)
- Search Warrant Requirements (FindLaw)
- Mom Helped Daughter, 13, 'Sext' Her Boyfriend (FindLaw's Blotter)
- How Many Middle Schoolers Are 'Sexting'? (FindLaw's Blotter)