Alexandria, VA – A 17-year-old boy who was forced to masturbate in front of police officers after he was accused of taking nude photos of himself and sending them to his 15-year-old girlfriend, won a small victory in court, when he argued that by attempting to force him to recreate the photos, the officers were manufacturing child pornography.
The United States Court of Appeals in the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of Trey Sims, who is now 20. He was originally accused of sending his girlfriend explicit photographs and videos in 2014. Manasseh City Police Detective David Abbott—who is now deceased—investigated the alleged transmission of child pornography. He asked for, received, and executed a search warrant, which ultimately demanded Sims masturbate for Abbott and two other officers.
As incredible as the story may sound. It did indeed take place. A teenager, a minor, was ordered by police to masturbate in front of them while they videotaped the act so they could obtain forensic evidence to use against Sims in the felony child pornography case against him.
Sims could not achieve an erection in front of the officers and was then threatened with being carried to the hospital and forced to take an erection producing medicine, according to court documents. That threat was not carried out, and Sims accepted a plea bargain for possessing child pornography, although it was his own image he was accused of possessing.
Sims sued Abbott, as well as Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Richardson after he complied with the terms of his sentencing and probation. A lower court threw out most of his complaints, including the one in which he claimed to be a victim of child pornography. Sims and his lawyers argued Abbott, in essence, created child pornography when he forced Sims, under duress, to masturbate in front of the cops while being recorded. Many people, if not most, would likely conclude the officers did, indeed, create child pornography. But the appeals court disagreed.
The court concluded child pornography is defined as filmed sex acts meant to stimulate the viewer. In the exercise of their duties in executing the search warrants, the court claimed that the officers were not watching and recording Sims masturbating, in order to stimulate themselves or others.
But the court did affirm Sims’ right to sue Abbott (now his estate) for violating his Fourth Amendment rights to an unreasonable search. In the majority opinion, the court determined:
Construing the facts in the light most favorable to Sims, a reasonable police officer would have known that attempting to obtain a photograph of a minor child’s erect penis, by ordering the child to masturbate in the presence of others, would unlawfully invade the child’s right of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. We therefore remand Sims’ Section 1983 claim alleging a Fourth Amendment violation to the district court for further proceedings.
In addition to having his rights violated, Sims was likely emotionally traumatized by the entire ordeal. Now, the lower court must decide precisely how much money, if any, they will award to the teenager, who is now an adult.
Virginia taxpayers will be responsible for the costs associated with a case of sexting, which is not at all child pornography. How many millions of American teenagers are guilty of transmitting sexual images of themselves to others? Under the law, in this age of the all-powerful police state, they are all felons. At any time, armed with a search warrant, investigators can explore a citizen’s private life and bring felony charges against them for sex crimes involving children, even though those children are willing participants in showing off their private parts.
As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, common sense when applying the law is practically dead in America. Just this month, a 14-year-old girl was charged with being a child pornographer for photographing herself nude and sending the image to her boyfriend.
Detective Abbott killed himself before Sims’ case could be decided. In what may be proof Sims was the victim of the schemes of a sexual predator masquerading as a police detective, Abbott took his life in Dec. 2015 when he became the chief suspect in a case involving the molestation of two boys.
The Washington Post reported that Abbott “committed suicide in December 2015 as police attempted to arrest him on charges of molesting two young boys.” Both boys were connected to his coaching of hockey teams. According to the Post:
David E. Abbott Jr., 39, was a member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and had been an officer on the Manassas City force for 14 years. In his spare time he coached 13- and 14-year-old boys in travel hockey for the Potomac Patriots program at the Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge, club officials said. When Prince William police learned…of the allegations of improper contact by Abbott over a period of years, they moved quickly.
Police said they learned that Abbott had sent inappropriate text messages and emails to a 13-year-old boy he met through the hockey program. By phone and social media, Abbott had been asking the boy for sex acts for more than two years, county police said.
Sims was victimized by Abbott’s scheme to photograph him masturbating, but his case also served as a catalyst that likely provoked the investigation into other allegations of abuse.
As TFTP has faithfully reported, child predators often do their best to get around children by earning and obtaining positions where they can exercise authority over their victims. Such was allegedly the case with Abbott who was accused of molesting two boys on the hockey team he coached. His role on the internet crimes task force did not go unnoticed as he was charged with protecting the very children he ultimately victimized.