The conviction of a 17-year-old teenager found guilty of distributing child pornography by sexting a picture of himself to an older woman has been upheld.
In 2012, Eric Gray sent an explicit image of himself to a 22-year-old woman, who then reported the message to police.
The woman had also been receiving anonymous phone calls from Gray for over a year.
At the time, he was sentenced to 30 days confinement and 150 hours of community service after being found guilty of second-degree dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Gray and his legal team appealed to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the state does not have the right to prosecute a minor for taking and distributing a photo of himself.
Despite appeals that the law was unambiguous and infringed upon his constitutional rights, last week judges upheld the conviction by a 6-3 majority.
The ruling stated: “The statute here is unambiguous. A “person” is any person, including a minor. Images of a “minor” are images of any minor. Nothing in the statute indicates that the “person” and the “minor” are necessarily different entities.
“Therefore, the photographer or distributor may also be the minor in the photograph. Because of this, Gray was properly charged was taking and disseminating sexually explicit images of a minor.”
In opposition, dissenting judge Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud said: “It means that a 12-year-old girl who is groomed or lured into taking and then texting explicit depictions of herself to an adult can be prosecuted for succumbing to that grooming.
“I can’t believe the Legislature intended that result.”