The Washington Supreme Court has upheld the conviction under state child porn laws of a 17-year-old boy who sent a picture of his own erect penis to a 22-year-old woman. The case illustrates a bizarre situation in which Eric Gray is both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime. Under state law, Gray could face up to 10 years in prison for the conviction.
On appeal, Gray’s attorneys had argued that the language of the law was ambiguous—lawmakers did not anticipate a situation like this—and that the law was potentially in violation of the state and the federal constitutions. The court, in a 7-1 ruling, disagreed.
The majority opinion issued Thursday drew a distinction between this case and situations where teens are busted for consensually sexting one another—as Ars reported in 2015. (A Drexel University survey from 2014 found that, while the majority of teens sext with each other, an even higher percentage were unaware that engaging in such behavior could be prosecuted as child pornography.)