Anthony Rich of Bradenton, Florida was himself no older than 17 when he met and dated his then girlfriend, who was 15. With only a two year difference, and with both teens being under 18, you might think that there was no problem. In fact, given those facts, you might think that that there was no problem – at least legally – with her allowing him to take nude pictures of her. And depending on the age of consent in the state in which they lived, you might be right.
But then they broke up – and Anthony Rich – at age 17 – posted one of those pictures – a nude picture – of his 15 year old ex-girlfriend to her MySpace page. And now, two years later (and thus over the age of 18), Anthony Rich is facing 30 days in jail for child abuse and attempted child abuse – even though he was himself legally but a child when he posted the picture (for which, don’t forget, his then-girlfriend had willingly posed).
So, the question here is, what exactly was Anthony Rich’s real crime? Did it warrant jail time? Did it warrant child abuse charges? According to news accounts, Rich pleaded ‘no contest’ to the child abuse and attempted child abuse charges in order to avoid having to defend against ‘sex crime’ charges which, if he had been found guilty, would have marked him as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Would this outcome have been the same if Rich, rather than posting to MySpace, which as been under a lot of scrutiny lately as a place where innocent young girls are taken advantage of, had posted the picture on another website? Remember, it was posted to her page, so she had the full ability to remove it.
Now let us hasten to add that we do not condone what Rich did. We’re just not sure that he should do jail time – for child abuse – over what essentially was a teen love angst spat, when he was under 18 himself at the time of the crime – or, indeed whether a genuine crime had been committed at all.
But what we really want to know is when her family is going to sue MySpace. After all, suing MySpace for transgressions against or even by (it really doesn’t seem to matter which) your daughter is the new all American pasttime.