NC Teen Charged as Adult Faces 10 Years in Prison for Having Naked Photos of Himself and Teen Girlfriend

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Cormega Copening
ABC 11 Screenshot

A North Carolina teen is being charged as an adult and facing 10 years in prison for having and sharing naked photos of his girlfriend.

In case you missed that, Cormega Copening, 17, is being charged as an adult and facing a decade in prison for possessing naked photos of himself and his 16-year-old girlfriend, even though the legal age of consent in North Carolina is 16.


"In North Carolina, you are considered an adult at 16 years old as far as being charged," Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department told Fox News. "But to disseminate and receive sexually explicit texts, photos or videos, you must be over 18."

According to Atlanta Blackstar, Cormega "is facing two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation and three counts of third-degree exploitation. The third-degree charges of sexual exploitation of a minor actually stem from the pictures Copening had of himself. Each count is a felony charge carrying at least two years in jail."

The news site reports that police discovered the sexually explicit photos as they were investigating another incident. Police reportedly found naked photos of Cormega and his girlfriend on both of the teens' phones. While both teens were charged as adults, the Atlanta Blackstar reports that Cormega's girlfriend took a plea deal and was sentenced to "one year of probation without access to a phone, a $200 fine and a class on making smarter life decisions."

Cormega not only faces substantial prison time but, if he's found guilty, will also be required to register as a sex offender.  


"You can be labeled a convicted sex offender as an adult at the age of 16, but you are a minor by being under the age of 18 to commit the offense in the first place," Raleigh attorney Karl Knudsen, who is not involved in the case, told Fox News. "It really makes terrible sense logically, but that's the way the law is written."

"The consequences for this young man are absolutely horrendous," Knudsen told Fox News.


Knudsen added that having Cormega register as a sex offender "would hang over his head forever. Life, as it should have unfolded for him, will not."

Fox News reports that Cormega's next court appearance is Sept. 30. 

Read more at Fox News and Atlanta Blackstar.

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