'Sexting' Teen Given One Year Probation; No Declaration of Guilt or Innocence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A judge gave Trey Sims one year of probation in a Manassas sexting case but stopped short of finding the 17-year-old innocent or guilty. Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter David Culver spoke with Sims after the ruling.

    A Northern Virginia boy who was accused of child pornography charges for sexting his then-girlfriend was given one year of probation Friday.

    The Prince William County judge's ruling puts off for one year any declaration of guilt or innocence for 17-year-old Trey Sims.

    The probation comes with several stipulations: Sims is prohibitied from texting, using social media or using the internet for the year. He also must complete 100 hours of community service and cannot contact the victim or the victim’s family.

    Sims will not be placed on the sex registry or sex offender list. In a year, if he abides by all the stipulations, all charges could be dismissed.

    The judge in the case said he didn't want to see the teen start out his adult life with a felony conviction.

    Sims said after the hearing that he would have rather heard the words "not guilty," but he is relieved this part of the process is over.

    "It's been hard, these past couple of months," Sims said. "Hard on my family, hard on me.

    "I feel good about the situation, but then again I feel bad because we didn't get what we wanted," he said.

    Friday in court, the prosecution put forward several of the pictures allegedly exchanged between Sims and his former girlfriend. The alleged victim's mother even took the stand, pointing out her daughter in some of the photos.

    But the defense argued that no one could prove it was Sims in those explicit pictures -- or that he sent them, even though they came from his phone.

    Sims' aunt told News4's David Culver that she’s satisfied with the deferral, although she would have rather have heard the words “not guilty.”

    Sims' case became a national news story earlier this year, when prosecutors had said they planned to take nude photos of the teen, including some in an aroused state, to make their case.

    In a statement Friday, Manassas police said must explore all legal avenues of evidence collection as they prepare for a case.

    Last month, prosecutors decided not to use the search warrant photos; they also allowed an invasive warrant for the second set of photos to expire.

    The case began when the victim's mother contacted police, saying her 15-year-old daughter had been sent "pornographic videos" by Sims, "after repeatedly being told to stop."

    Sims, a Manassas high school student, was charged with two felony counts of manufacturing and possessing child pornography. Virginia law allows prosecutors to charge minors as felons in some "sexting" cases.