Maybe this will help. ( ALEXEY DRUZHININ / AFP)
Maybe this will help. ( ALEXEY DRUZHININ / AFP)

(Hello, everyone who got to this piece by googling “child pornography.” I am afraid this is not quite what you had in mind.)

This story is completely insane: The Manassas City Police are reportedly trying to get nude, aroused pictures of a teenager to make sure that the Weiner Pics (patent pending — get on this, Anthony!) that they have match up to him.

My Post colleague Tom Jackman reports:

A Manassas City teenager accused of “sexting” a video to his girlfriend is now facing a search warrant in which Manassas City police and Prince William County prosecutors want to take a photo of his erect penis, possibly forcing the teen to become erect by taking him to a hospital and giving him an injection, the teen’s lawyers said. A Prince William County judge allowed the 17-year-old to leave the area without the warrant being served or the pictures being taken — yet.

….[The teen's defense lawyer, Jessica Harbeson] Foster said Detective Abbott told her that after obtaining photos of the teen’s erect penis he would “use special software to compare pictures of this penis to this penis. Who does this? It’s just crazy.”

Yup.

Isn’t that just always how it goes? In order to catch the monster, you must become a monster! You must fight sexts with sexts. (I would hate to see the Manassas City Police Department’s version of To Catch a Predator.) But how did this happen? Who suggested this? I can imagine everything about this except the part where someone says, “Okay, yes. This sounds like a good plan.” Maybe the guy in the office who usually shot things down was sick that day. Here’s my best effort at reconstructing what must have happened:

INT. MANASSAS CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT – AFTERNOON

Chief John enters. “Well,” he says, tugging at his suspenders. “This is a tough case.”

Everyone at the station nods.

“These sexts are proving hard nuts to crack,” Chief John adds. “We have these photos. And we have fingered the guy we think is behind it.”

“Wow. Phrasing,” says Dave.

“Dave,” John says. “If you’re going to be like that, you should leave the room.”

 “Now, what we need to do,” Chief John goes on, “is prove he’s behind these sexually explicit images. And there’s only one way to do that. We need to take more sexually explicit images ourselves. Of him. To make sure it’s him.”

“Fight fire with fire,” Jerry says sententiously. “Like we did with that arsonist.”

“What?” Helen asks. (Helen is always a little behind on these things.) “Can’t you tell it’s him already?”

“Well, there’s variables,” Jerry says. “Some people are growers. Some people are showers. It depends.”

“Yes,” Chief John says. “Really it could be anybody’s. But until we take more pictures–”

“More pictures with the same, er, conditions.”

“Lighting?” Helen asks.

“Not lighting, Helen. We have a picture of — one thing, under certain conditions. We need a picture of that same thing, under the same conditions.” Jerry waggles his eyebrows. “You know, conditions. Conditions.”

“If he’s willing to cooperate, we’ll need to set the mood somehow,” Chief John says, running a hand through his hair. “What do seventeen year-olds find sexy nowadays?”

“I’m sorry,” Dave says. “Could we hold that thought for just a second? Does this seem weird to anybody else?”

“Weird?” Chief John asks. “What’s weird about it? We’re just taking a seventeen year-old in to the precinct and, um, stimulate him so we can take explicit photos of him. I would call that routine police work, myself.”

“We get it. We get it. We’ve all seen the Wire,” Jerry adds. (Jerry has not actually seen The Wire.)

“I wish I knew what were sexy,” Chief John says. “We need to stock up some of that. I’m going to Google ‘pictures’ and ‘horny illegal teenagers’ to see what pictures will help us with our police work.”

Dave begins inching toward the door. “We are all going to wind up on a watch list,” he says.

“I know!” Jerry says. “Let’s hire a prostitute!”

“That’s a great idea, Jerry!” Chief John says. “That will help us stomp out prostitution! We can hire her, then also arrest her! It will be like killing multiple birds using fewer stones than birds.”

“HOW ARE YOU EVEN POLICEMEN?” Dave asks.

“Maybe we could give him an injection,” Jerry says suddenly. “Instead of, you know, having to –”

“That’s an idea,” Chief John says. “But after that, there’s a problem. Will we be able to match the pictures up?”

No worries there,” Jerry says. “There’s a special software for exactly that purpose.”

Dave inches out the door and slips his resignation quietly under it.

 There might be some other way it could have happened, but I can’t imagine it. I can barely believe it happened in the first place.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.