Police Won't Use Nude Photos of Va. Teen as Evidence in Sexting Case, Attorney Says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on prosecutors in Prince William County dropping a controversial warrant against a teenager who is accused of sexting.

    Prosecutors in Prince William County, Virginia, won't use search warrant photos taken of a Manassas teen charged in a sexting case, the teen's attorney said Tuesday.

    Stacy Bigley, the aunt and legal guardian of Trey Sims, 17, said that police had taken nude photographs of the teen after he was accused of sending nude photos to his then-girlfriend.

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    However, in a closed court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors announced they won't use the photos taken of Sims, Bigley told Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey.

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    Last week, Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert had disputed the claim that such photos existed.

    "The allegations lack credibility," Ebert said.

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    Prosecutors in Prince William County had also wanted to take a second set of nude photos, of the teen in an aroused state, said Sims' family and attorneys. The prosecutors had planned to compare them to photos he allegedly sent to his then-girlfriend.

    Sims' lawyers said police had told them they planned to obtain the photo by taking the teen to a hospital, and injecting him with a chemical that would cause an erection.

    Prosecutors announced last week they would allow that invasive warrant to expire. In court Tuesday, they confirmed they won't serve the warrant.

    "When I found out about it, we determined we would not proceed," said Manassas City Police Chief Douglas W. Keen last week.

    Both Sims' attorney and his aunt said they are relieved with the decision, they told Carey.

    However, Sims is still facing two felony charges for manufacturing and possessing child pornography. Back in January, he was charged in juvenile court after he was allegedly caught sexting his girlfriend.

    Police were contacted by the mother of Sims' then-girlfriend, "who was sent pornographic videos" by the 17-year-old "after repeatedly being told to stop," police said. The girl was 15 at the time.

    Sims had traveled out of Virginia while waiting to learn whether the invasive warrant would be served. He's expected to return Tuesday night.

    He is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 1, and could be forced to register as a sex offender and spend time in jail again.

    However, his attorney told Carey that they hope Sims will avoid going to trial.

    Bigley, his aunt, spoke with News4 last week about the incident. Although he is only 17, Sims' family decided to speak with News4 to make his story known.

    Trey was in the room during the interview but didn't speak because the investigation is ongoing.

    "He said they took him to a room and took pictures of his genitalia," Bigley said. "I asked if they’re allowed to do that, and [Trey] said, 'I tried to refuse,' which he did, he didn’t want to do it -- they told him if he did not, they would do it by force."

    The teen's appointed guardian ad litem, Carlos Flores Laboy, said police had planned to do some sort of computer analysis of the photos to try to prove a similarity to the explicit photo found on the girl's phone.

    He said the search warrant vividly demonstrates the importance of defending individuals' constitutional rights against invasions of privacy.

    "Doing this to an adult would be traumatic. We're talking about a 17-year-old child," Laboy said. "Doing it to a 17-year-old would be even worse."

    Both the city of Manassas police department and the Commonwealth's Attorney for Prince William County declined to comment further to News4 on the case.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.