An 18-year-old Logan man has spent the summer in the Cache County Jail and has a six- month prison stay hanging over his head after sexting with his 16-year-old girlfriend.
“There is no honor in what you did and there is no honor in spending time in jail,” Judge Kevin Allen said Monday when the youth was sentenced.
According to Cache County prosecutor Spencer Walsh, the young man and the girl in the case exchanged more than 30 photos and several videos that amounted to child porn and they including footage of sexual activity involving the girl. It does not appear that the photos or videos were distributed outside of that relationship, according to Walsh, which could warrant more serious charges.
“Youth need to understand that this is a felony,” Allen said. “This is a serious crime.”
This young man was charged and convicted of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony offense for persons over the age of 18.
He was sentenced to zero to five years in the Utah State Prison. All of that was suspended, and instead, he was ordered to serve 101 days in jail, with credit given for the 81 days he has already served.
He was offered bail in this case until new, unrelated charges were filed against him in May and at that point, he was held without bail.
He told the judge on Monday that he just wanted to get out of jail so he could finish school and go on to college.
“This is such a crossroads for you,” Allen said. “You seem like a pretty decent kid that made a really stupid mistake.”
The same charge is a class B misdemeanor for those who are under the age of 16, and a class A misdemeanor for youth who are 16 or 17 years old.
However, at the age of 18, it becomes a third-degree felony with a possible prison sentence. And, a juvenile who is later convicted again could be charged with a second-degree felony.
Sharing those photos opens up the possibility of additional, more serious charges including sexual exploitation of a minor or distribution of pornography, according to attorney Clayton Simms, a juvenile defense advocate for Utah.