Santa Cruz resident (29) (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) had upwards of 50 different photographs of teenage girls in their bikinis when he was arrested for possession of obscene material and annoying or molesting children under 18 years of age. So, how did he get these girls to give him, a complete stranger, photos of themselves in such sparse attire? It’s simple: he pretended to be someone else. He would send text messages to certain young girls pretending to be their father or some other family member, then tell them that his phone number had changed. It was then that he would allegedly ‘go in for the kill,’ so to speak. He would then mention that a friend or co-worker of his needed swimsuit models. A phone number for the ‘modeling agency’ would be provided and, after they called, he would ask for a photograph in order to determine who to use for the swimsuit line. Clearly, this should at least be a warning to anyone sending private information via text message, you’re never sure who is really on the other end of the line, so its best to keep things like racy photographs to yourself.
The charge of annoyance to a minor is clear, but the more interesting question is the one concerning ‘obscene material.’ California Penal Code 311-312.7 defines ‘obscene matter’ as matter, taken as a whole, that to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and that, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.’
Penalties for violation of this portion of the PC 311-312.7 can be severe, especially if the photographs were of girls under the age of 18. In this case, he may face at least a 1 year term in county jail and a max fine of $10,000.