Teens fight self-abuse charges

Threatened with child molesting charges for a bra-clad slumber-party photo of herself that showed up on a cellphone, a high school cheerleader refused to cop a plea. Along with two other girls, she’s filed suit against the overzealous prosecutor.

Marissa Miller and two other Tunkhannock, Pa., high school students say a prosecutor retaliated when they rejected his deal in a case over cellphone photos he called “provocative.”

. . . (The photo) showed Marissa and a friend from the waist up. Both were wearing bras.

(Prosecutor) Skumanick said he considered the photo “provocative” enough to tell Marissa and the friend, Grace Kelly, that if they did not attend a 10-hour class dealing with pornography and sexual violence, he was considering filing a charge of sexual abuse of a minor against both girls. If convicted, they could serve time in prison and would probably have to register as sex offenders.

Seventeen other students took the deal.

Criminalizing adolescent folly is nuts. Is there no sexual violence, abuse of minors or kiddie porn in Tunkhannock?

Meanwhile, in Britain, an 18-year-old boy painted an Iron Age fertility symbol with a 60-foot phallus on the new roof of his parents £1million house, reports the Daily Mail. He was hoping it would show up on Google Earth. No prosecution is planned. Just a new paint job.

About Joanne


  1. if the pics only showed their torsos and they were wearing bras, how is that more “pornographic” than the bikinis that girls wear at the pool? would a pic of that be pornographic?

  2. So glad someone has sense enough to stand up to this idiocy. Too bad it was teenagers and not the adults.

  3. Telling someone how you intend to exercise your prosecutorial discretion is not tortious. It may be unprofessional behavior on the part of this prosecutor, but he’s immune from civil suit for acts in the course of his official duties, and rightly so. The remedy if they think he behaved unprofessionally is to file a bar complaint.

  4. Doug Sundseth says:

    The prosecutor should be threatened with a Section 1983 action. It probably wouldn’t win, but bringing the suit would be a more legitimate act of discretion than the prosecutor’s.

    And no, the current state of affairs is not “rightly so”. Abuse of discretion should be a felony. (I have an actual argument, but it won’t fit on the margin, and besides, you didn’t bother to present an argument to rebut.)

  5. Bill Leonard says:

    I wonder what the taxpayers in Tunkhannock think of this instance of their tax dollars at work. I also wonder whether there are any tapayers in Tunkhannock who think.