Crime

Case Dismissed For Student Facing Dozens Of Charges

| by Michael Doherty

Police in Mesa, Arizona, announced that a high school football player who was charged with 69 counts of indecent exposure would not be prosecuted because "all parties involved no longer desire prosecution."

Red Mountain High School student Hunter Osborn, 19, reportedly exposed himself in a team photo which appeared in the school's yearbook, according to The Arizona Republic. Osborn was charged with one count of furnishing obscene material to minors, and 69 counts of indecent exposure for the 59 teammates and 10 faculty members present when the photo was taken.

After his arrest, Osborn is reported to have told police he was "disgusted" with his own actions. He said that he had been dared to carry out the prank, in which he stuck the top of his penis out during the photo shoot, by a teammate.

According to a spokesperson for the school, it was "unlikely the yearbook staff would have been able to identify the minor but critical spot during a normal production review," The Atlantic reports.

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Teammates and classmates rallied around Osborn, arguing that the charges were excessive and using the hashtag #FreeHunter.

"He made a dumb mistake a little bit, but I don't think he should be charged so heavily for that," said classmate Zach Anthony, according to KTVK.

"It's something that's going to be on his record for the rest of his life," said student Brooke Bodrero. "The consequences are a little harsh."

"I hope that something can be done so that this doesn't ruin his life, his career," said a neighbor identified only as Jim. "He's been a good neighbor. He doesn't go out and party all the time. He has a job that he works at; he's punctual. He gets up and goes to school every morning. He gets up on Sunday and goes to church. I really feel for the guy."

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A Change.org petition argued that the school should be responsible for distributing the image, rather than Osborn.

"He didn't put the picture in the yearbook, he didn't create the page, he wasn't the editor that approved it, or the teacher responsible for publishing it and distributing it to students," said the petition. "The teacher responsible for the yearbook should be fired. Red Mountain High School is using him as a scapegoat instead of taking any responsibility."

Ultimately, all of the 69 victims of indecent exposure had said that they did not want to press charges against Osborn. Because none of the victims wanted to pursue the case further, authorities decided that the case would be dismissed.

"An assessment of the available evidence for the felony charge of furnishing harmful items to minors ... leads us to conclude that the evidence does not establish a violation of the statute," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Sources: The Atlantic, The Arizona Republic, KTVK / Photo credit: Casey Stinnett/Flickr

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