In Fairfax sexting case, 2 teen boys found guilty on felony charges

Two teenage boys were found guilty Thursday in Fairfax County Juvenile Court on felony charges related to surreptitiously producing cellphone videos of themselves engaged in drunken sex acts with teen girls.

Judge Thomas P. Mann ordered each teen to perform 100 hours of community service and imposed 30-day suspended sentences. Mann said that if the two teens engage in a civic project to better the community, he would consider reducing the felony charges to misdemeanors.

In April, the teenagers pleaded no contest to the charges in exchange for testimony against a third boy who also took part in the acts.

The teens sentenced on Thursday received lesser punishments than the third teenager, a 16-year-old who on Wednesday was ordered to serve three days in the Juvenile Detention Center.

In the end, all three were found guilty of unlawfully producing videos of non-consensual minors. Originally, they faced more serious child pornography charges.

Prosecutors said that during six months in 2012, the three friends, West Springfield High School students, made six videos without the consent of the girls involved. The boys shared the videos among themselves.

Defending one of the teenagers, attorney Gretchen Taylor characterized the case as “three knuckleheads thinking with parts of their bodies that were not their brains.”

A prosecutor noted that the girls in the videos suffered emotional distress and “deep hurt.”

In court on Thursday, both teenagers expressed remorse and took full responsibility for the acts.

Mann said that one youth largely was swept up in the actions of his two friends but deserved to be held accountable for not doing anything to stop it.

Mann called the other teenager “the driving force” in the case and said that the boy appeared on the surface to be a stellar student and good athlete but also led a “ second, secret life . . . under [his] parents’ noses.”

Mann commented that what he found most troubling was that the teenager treated sex with multiple partners as casually as “going to the 7-Eleven and buying Slurpees.”

Mann said he found the teenager to be dishonest and cruel and his actions appalling.

“I suspect I will regret my decision,” Mann said, noting that if not for the boy’s testimony he would have given him a harsher sentence. “Do not make a fool out of me.”

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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