High school is a time for immaturity, revelry, and doing dumb pranks with your friends. Sometimes these pranks are good and funny, like the one these Ohio teens who fake-delivered a baby on court at a basketball game pulled. Sometimes they’re vicious and mean. Sometimes they’re just stupid, which brings us to the strange case of Hunter Osborn, who is coming to understand the American justice system after an innocuous yearbook-photo prank.
Our story starts back in the fall, when the Red Mountain High School football team was taking their yearbook photo. A teammate of Osborn’s dared him to stick the top of his dong out of his waistband, he says, and he did, and it ended up in the school’s yearbook photo. Someone apparently complained this Saturday, and the justice apparatus of Mesa and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office whirred into high gear and immediately threw the book at Osborn. As KPHO has it:
Based on the photo and admission, Osborn was booked for 69 counts of indecent exposure — a class 1 misdemeanor — and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors — a class 4 felony. The 69 counts of indecent exposure were for every person present when the photo was taken.
Osborn was released on his recognizance after being fitted with an electronic monitor.
Mesa PD confirmed the charges and narrative, in every unbelievable detail, to Deadspin this evening. The school released a statement full of hand-wringing over decorum and such, including the revelation that they’re going to edit Osborn’s dong out of 3,400 new yearbooks:
While the small size of the photograph as published makes the details difficult to discern, the yearbook has been recalled so the school can make a minor but critical edit for the inappropriate content.
As funny as this whole affair is—teen pulls out dong; mayhem ensues—the charges Osborn is facing are extremely serious. “Furnishing harmful items to minors” reads as a more serious offense out of the specific context of a teen letting a bit of his dick show on a dare while a school photographer happened to be around.
Osborn’s prank was neither harmful or malicious. It was the sort of thing a high school kid might do without thinking of the potential consequences, which is to say the sort of thing a high school kid should be doing. Prosecuting him as if he purposefully tried to send unwanted dick pics to the entire school is dumb in its own right, leaving aside what a felony conviction can do to someone’s prospects. Hanging dong in a yearbook photo is absurd; the idea that it could even potentially be punished by long-term problems with, say, renting a house or getting a job is obscene.
Update (5/5/2016): Justice has been served!