Teen's Controversial Penis Pic Prosecution Spawns Defamation Suit

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 14, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

This was already one of the most ridiculous criminal cases to ever come out of Virginia, and now, it has spawned an equally ridiculous civil lawsuit.

Regular readers might recall the case from earlier this year, where Virginia police obtained a warrant to bring a teen to a hospital and photographed his erect penis, using an injection to induce the erection if necessary. The ridiculous warrant was part of an equally ridiculous prosecution of a 17-year-old kid who sent a picture of his penis to his 15-year-old girlfriend. Both send nude pics, but only he was charged.

Detectives eventually gave up on the picture due to the utterly predictable media firestorm, but the kid was convicted anyway. And now, one of the detectives is suing one of the defense attorneys, claiming that her comments on the case were defamatory, reports The Washington Post.

Minor Conviction

Though the teenage football player with a clean record faced incarceration until he reached the age of 21, and could have been forced to register as a sex offender, in the end he only received one year of probation. If he stays clean, stops sexting, and stays off social media for a year, Judge George M. DePolo said he would consider dismissing the case in 2015, reports the WaPo.

Whose Dick Pic Warrant Is It Anyway?

Detective David E. Abbott of the Manassas City Police Department filed a lawsuit Oct. 16 against Jessica Harbeson Foster, the amorous teenager's defense attorney. In the suit, he claimed that Foster misattributed the idea of the photo session in an interview with WaPo. The objectionable paragraph stated:

"Foster said Detective Abbott told her that after obtaining photos of the teen's erect penis he would 'use special software to compare pictures of this penis to this penis. Who does this? It's just crazy.'"

Det. Abbot said that Foster defamed him by calling him "crazy" and that the comment "asserts unfitness to perform the duties of his office or employment, with a direct intention to bring Abbott under scrutiny from the media and from the public," reports WaPo.

He also claims that her words imply that "Abbott conceived of the idea, that he desired to obtain the photographs, that he would take actual photographs, and that he would personally execute the comparison."

Foster's responded with an email that Abbot sent describing the penis comparison process and in her court filing, called her statements "not defamatory" and "constitutionally protected opinion and rhetorical hyperbole."

We don't think we've ever heard of a detective suing a defense attorney for defamation, nor had experts who talked to WaPo. It's certainly an unusual claim. If you've heard of a similar lawsuit, shoot us a Tweet @FindLawLP -- we're curious to see how it worked out.

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