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Dysart Willis

Teen faces child porn charges in alleged "catfishing" scheme

Teens in Raleigh today have the world at their fingertips through their phones, tablets and computers. They can digitally explore places, ideas, cultures and more far from North Carolina. Unfortunately, that freedom can sometimes lead to serious legal trouble, as one teen far from us found out.

The high school senior was recently arrested on child pornography charges after officials said he posed online as a teen girl to get explicit photographs from teenage boys. The 18-year-old received "thousands and thousands" of photos and videos from more than 130 people, a prosecutor said.

The Pennsylvania teenager's type of alleged scheme is known as "catfishing." The prosecutor claims that in this case, once the teen received photos and videos, he asked for more, threatening to expose those who did not comply.

The prosecutor said it is not only inappropriate for teens to send and receive explicit photos of minors, but "illegal because they are actually the creation of child pornography."

As a result of the charges, the high school senior is currently suspended from school and might be expelled.

According to the prosecutor, the teenager's ruse began with the creation of an online female persona that was then used in social media conversations and exchanges of explicit materials.

Officials said that the 18-year-old admitted to them that he knew some of the images he procured might be child pornography.

He is charged with the manufacture, possession and distribution of child pornography. He is also accused of criminal use of a communication facility, corruption of minors and stalking.

Anyone facing similar charges in Raleigh can speak with a criminal defense attorney by contacting the law firm of Dysart Willis to schedule an appointment.