Now Osborn, 19, faces 69 counts of indecent exposure, a misdemeanor, and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors, according to the TV station, charges that could follow the high school senior forever if he’s convicted.
But authorities with the Mesa Police Department said the number of charges — 69 for the number of students and faculty in the revealing photo — could fluctuate as the investigation continues.
that those 69 victims, if age 18, could come forward and ask that the misdemeanor charge be dropped on their behalf. If the victims are minors, their parents could make the same request on their behalf, police said. A spokesman with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said the charges were recommended by Mesa police and could be modified or even dropped once the county attorney reviews the case,
Online, supporters have rallied around Osborn’s cause. A
petition titled “Free Hunter Osborn” had garnered nearly 2,600 signatures early Wednesday. It argues that the school, which published the photos in the yearbook without catching the prank, should own its mistake. “Red Mountain High School is using him as a scapegoat instead of taking any responsibility!” the petition says. “Hunter needs to be held accountable for his actions but that doesn’t mean ruining his life!”
The Mesa Public School District released a statement about the incident:
“The district is dismayed by the actions of the students involved in the photograph.Their behavior does not reflect the values of Red Mountain High School or Mesa Public Schools.Upon learning of the photograph, school administration immediately contacted police and is cooperating fully with the investigation.Disciplinary action will follow policy and may be based on the outcome of the police investigation.The school and district are conducting an investigation to determine what actions might have prevented the publication of the photograph, so appropriate safeguards can be put in place going forward.While the small size of the photograph as published makes the details difficult to discern, the yearbook has been recalled so the school can make a minor but critical edit for the inappropriate content.”
Though the photo was published in over 4,000 books, only about 250 had been distributed to students, reported The Arizona Republic.