An 18 year old Utah teen has been charged with felony sexual exploitation of a minor after he views and reposted multiple images of child pornography that he found online.
Viewed and shared
18 year old Isaiah Weaver of Eagle Mountain, Utah was arrested after authorities discovered the teen had posted pornographic pictures of children on the popular platform Tumblr. Weaver was not the one responsible for producing the illegal pictures or even posting them online originally. According to police, Weaver came across the pictures and after viewing them, he reposted them on his account so he could find them again easily. He now faces two second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor.
Sexual exploitation of a minor
states: “A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor:
(a) When the person:
(i) Knowingly produces, possesses, or possesses with intent to distribute child pornography; or
(ii) Intentionally distributes or views child pornography; . . .
Sexual exploitation of a minor is a second degree felony [and] it is a separate offense . . . for each minor depicted in the child pornography; and for each time the same minor is depicted in different child pornography.” 18 year old Weaver faces two second felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor, each punishable by one to 15 years in prison.
No filters and unwise choices
With easy, often unfiltered access to the internet available 24/7, many teens are likely to stumble across pornographic material including those depicting children. While accidental viewing of such material will not land a young man like Weaver in prison, intentionally viewing and even privately saving the illegal images is punishable by Utah Law. For more information on child pornography charges or other legal issues that may arise from internet use, contact a criminal or juvenile defense attorney.
An 18 year old Ogden Utah teen was arrested and booked into Elko County Jail in Nevada for having sexual activity with a minor under 14 years old.
Teen younger than 14 years old
18 year old Nathanial Sweat of Ogden was arrested and detained by Elko County Sherriff’s Office in Nevada after the mother of a 14 year old West Wendover girl discovered the two teens were dating and had been intimate on at least one occasion. Although the younger teen involved was 14 when her mom discovered the relationship between the two, the sexual activity presumably took place when the teen was younger than 14 years old as Sweat severe consequences under Nevada Law. According to Nevada Statute 201.230, an 18 year old having sexual relations with a 14 year old is considered a category B felony and is punishable by one to 10 years in prison. If an 18 year old has sexual relations with a teen younger than 14 years old, it is considered a category A felony “and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served . . . “
Utah law differs greatly from Nevada regarding sexual relations with a teen who is 14 or 15 and there is also added leniency depending on the age gap of the two involved. Utah Code 76-5-401 states explains that if an adult commits unlawful sexual activity with a minor who is 14 years old , they will face a third degree felony which is punishable in the state of Utah with up to five years in prison. That statute notes however, that if “the defendant is less than four years older than the minor at the time the sexual activity occurred, the offense is a class B misdemeanor” which is punishable by up 6 months in jail at the most. Now if the minor is younger than 14, say 13 and a half, just as with Nevada law, that charge quickly escalates. In Utah it is considered rape of a child. According to Utah Code 76-5-402.1, there may still be some leniency for adult teenagers however. “If:
i. It is a first time offense for the defendant . . . ;
ii. The defendant was younger than 21 years of age at the time of the offense; and
iii. The court finds that a lesser term . . . is in the interests of justice . . . “
With these considerations, “the court may impose a term of imprisonment of not less than;
i. 15 years and while may be for life;
ii. 10 years and which may be for life; or
iii. Six years and which may be for life.”
Prepare for adulthood, learn the law
Teens who have barely graduated to being an “adult” may be stunned at some of the things that can land them in jail. Even more surprising are how the laws can differ greatly with the age of those involved or where the crimes take place. For any questions regarding Utah law and how it applies to teens or “teen adults”, contact a defense attorney that handles both juvenile as well as adult cases.
Teens who engage in sexual relations with other teens may feel they are legal to do so as long as both parties consent, however sometimes their relations are considered unlawful sexual activity.
Too young for consent
Unlawful sexual activity among teens does not include instances or rape, sodomy or sexual abuse that carries severe penalties for the offender. Unlawful adolescent sexual activity are sexual relations where both parties give consent yet one or more parties are not at an age old enough for consent. According to the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, “teens and youth of a certain age range CANNOT consent to sexual activities. Even if a youth gave consent, they are not permitted by law to do so in certain circumstances – and anyone having sexual contact with them could face criminal charges. This rule still applies even if the contact was by a teen or youth with another teenager or youth.” So how young is too young for teens to engage in sexual activity and what are the punishments?
Unlawful sexual activity among teens is considered a felony if there is a major age difference between the consenting teens involved. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, teens face third degree felony charges if they are:
• 17 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen 12 or 13 years old, a four to five year age difference;
• 16 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 12 years old, a four year age difference.
Close in age, still against the law
The closer in age the teens who are involved, the less severe the punishments. This law varies slightly if the younger of the teens is a 12 or 13 year old who has barely reached adolescence. Statute 76-5-401.3 states, teens face class A misdemeanor charges if they are:
• 16 years old engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 13 years old, a three year age difference; or
• 14 to 15 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a 12 year old, a two to three year age difference.
Teens may be charged with class B misdemeanor if they are:
• 17 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen who is 14 years old, a three year age difference;
• 15 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen 13 years old, a two year age difference.
Even teens who are really close in age or the same age face charges for having sexual relations. The punishment is a class C misdemeanor if the teen is:
• 14 years old and engaging in sexual activity with a teen who is 12 to 13 years old, a one to two year age difference ; and also
• 12 or 13 and engaging in sexual activity with another teen who is 12 or 13, the same exact age.
The laws regarding sexual activity among teens changes once the younger party involved reaches the age of 16 or 17 years of age. 16 and 17 year old do not face charges for sexual relations with other teens their same age. If the other party is an adult, it may still be legal depending on the age difference. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 explains that “a person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a [16 or 17 year old] if [the person] is:
• seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor (…) and the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor;
• 10 or more years older than the minor (…); or
• Holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer (…)”.
This statute goes on to note sexual conduct includes any sexual act, inappropriate touching, or indecent liberties with the minor. Charges for the adult involved range from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony.
Not just old fashioned thinking
Teens who wish to engage in sexual activity should be warned that refraining from such is not just old fashioned thinking, it is the law. Those who face charges for unlawful sexual conduct should consult with a juvenile defense attorney.
A Utah high school student was arrested on suspicion of raping a fellow classmate in a vehicle located in their school’s parking lot.
High school parking lot
18 year old Dylon Hernandez was arrested after a female student came to police stating Hernandez had raped her in a parked car at the local high school. The female student had gone to her car to catch up on homework while Hernandez ditched his class to accompany her. While in the car, Hernandez was reported to have sexually forced himself on the girl, later admitting it and apologizing via social media.
First degree rape
The 18 year old teen, who is legally an adult but more than likely still a senior in high school, was booked into Utah County Jail for rape, a first degree felony. According to Utah Code 76-5-402, “A person commits rape when the actor has sexual intercourse with another person without the victim’s consent.” First degree felony rape is punishable by five years to life in prison as well as a lifetime on the Sex Offender Registry.
No means no
In an effort to fight today’s rape culture, it is imperative to teach teens that although rape is common, it should not be normalized. It is a criminal offense that can physically, mentally, and emotionally harm the victim for years. While teens may be constantly fighting sexual tensions brought on by raging hormones, they must understand that when it comes to sex, no means no; no consent means no. Teens must be taught early the lifelong consequences for the victim including depression and PTSD as well as punishment for the perpetrator including lengthy prison sentences and a permanent record of sexual violence. For more information on legal repercussions stemming from rape or sexual abuse charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.
A 19 year old Utah teenager was arrested after police discovered the teen was pretending to be an woman online in an attempt to obtain nude photos from young boys.
Not a filter
Several young boys were reported to have sent nude photos of themselves via social media after being requested to do so by a very attractive woman named “Jessica Ford”. Unknown to the young juveniles, “Jessica Ford” was in fact a 19 year old teenage boy named James Robert Louis Wood who was using random pictures of a woman to gain the boys trust. Wood pretended to be “Jessica Ford” and sent pornographic photos of a woman to the boys, asking them to give pictures of themselves in return; which they did. Over the course of two months, Wood had obtained nude photos from at least eleven young boys. Wood then shared these pictures at school and even sent some to one of the victim’s siblings.
Sexual exploitation of a minor
Woods was charged with dealing harmful materials to a minor and for multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Utah Code 76-5b-201 states “A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor when the person:
(i) knowingly produces, possesses, or possesses with intent to distribute child pornography; or
(ii) intentionally distributes or views child pornography ( . . . )”.
“Each minor depicted in the child pornography [and] each time the same minor is depicted in different child pornography” it is considered a separate defense. Wood is facing twelve second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor and ten third degree felonies for dealing harmful material to a minor.
Hefty charges for serious crimes
So far nothing has been disclosed stating Wood’s intent with the pictures. He may have been posing as a woman and collecting nudes from the boys for his own sexual gratification or it may have been done as a prank; something he could show off at school or used to torment a sibling of one of the boys. Regardless, Wood’s is facing substantial fines and several years in prison and an even longer duration of time on the National Sex Offender Registry. Anyone facing charges related to child pornography is encouraged to seek a reputable criminal defense attorney before appearing in court.