West Springfield Student Sentenced in Sex Video Recording Case

By David Culver and Carissa DiMargo
|  Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013  |  Updated 2:48 PM EDT
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Virginia Teen Convicted in Sex Tape Scandal

A Fairfax County judge convicted one of the teenagers accused of recording themselves having sex with girls their age. News4 Northern Virgnia Bureau reporter David Culver has the story.
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A West Springfield High School student convicted in a sex video case was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in juvenile detention, with 27 days suspended.

The defendant, now 16, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, reported News4's David Culver.

The teen was convicted April 18 of two felony counts of unlawful filming, and acquitted on distribution of child pornography and another charge.

Authorities say that the defendant, then age 15, and two friends recorded videos of themselves having sex with several girls around their age.

During the defendant's trial earlier this spring, a 17-year-old girl involved in one of the sex videos testified that she hadn't known she was being recorded. She broke down crying on the stand.

Two other girls also testified during the trial; three other victims did not.

Prosecutor Laura Riddlebarger said the victims will have to live with the fear that the videos will someday resurface even after they've tried to move on.

"Some of [the victims'] most intimate moments are on video,' she said. "...We can't be 100 percent sure they're not somewhere out there."

Defense attorney Jonathan Phillips blamed the media and blogs for victimizing his client, the young defendant.

"He cannot remove himself from the web searches," Phillips said. "He cannot remove himself from the limelight of the media."

NBC Washington is not naming the defendant because he is a minor.

He had faced up to 10 years in prison, but Fairfax County judge Thomas Mann said in court that he didn't want the teen's life to be ruined.

In a soft yet direct voice, he told the defendant: "I'm not going to lecture you, but some words need to be said, so I'm going to say them."

He said the defendant turned what was supposed to be "personal and private" into something "cheap and nasty," and while the defendant will spend time in a "physical cage," it doesn't compare to the "emotional cage" his victims are in.

The teen was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and 12 months of probation. He must also undergo a drug/alcohol evaluation and take victim impact courses.

Mann promised to reduce the felonies to misdemeanors after 12 months if the defendant did something to contribute to the community.

"You need to choose what you will do to make this community great to in some way atone for your actions," he said.

He told the defendant he needed to be a "blessing for this community rather than a source of darkness."

The teen will take his last final exam for the school year Friday while in a juvenile detention facility.

The defendant's lawyer said they have decided not to appeal at this time, Culver reported. An appeal could have created the possibility of a stricter sentence.

The other two teenage boys in the case accepted plea bargains and will be sentenced Thursday. They face up to five years in the case.

Follow David Culver on Twitter: @David_Culver


Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the teen had all but 27 days suspended. He had all but three days suspended.


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