Case dropped against Arizona student facing charges for yearbook prank
By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) – An Arizona prosecutor will not press criminal charges against a Phoenix-area high school student arrested for exposing his penis in a football team photograph published in the school’s yearbook, police said on Wednesday.
The case against Hunter Osborn, 19, will be dropped after the Maricopa County attorney declined to prosecute the Red Mountain High School student, the Mesa Police Department said in a statement.
“At this time all parties involved no longer desire prosecution and the case will be closed,” said Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman.
Osborn, who was 18 years old at the time, exposed his penis through the top of the waistband of his football uniform pants during a photo shoot for the high school football team on the school’s bleachers, according to court records.
He told police he was acting on a dare from another football player and said he was “disgusted by what he had done.”
Fifty-nine students, ranging in age from 15 to 19, and 10 faculty members were present, police said.
Osborn, who could not immediately be reached for comment, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of 69 counts of indecent exposure and one felony count of furnishing harmful items to minors after police learned of the offending picture from the school’s principal.
He was released on Sunday on his own recognizance.
The photo made it into all the yearbooks at the 3,400-student school, but a school district spokeswoman said only 250 had been distributed.
The incident sparked a firestorm of criticism throughout the community against police over the seriousness of the charges sought for what many labeled a prank.
The case began to unravel on Wednesday, when county attorney Bill Montgomery said the evidence was lacking to charge Osborn with a felony count and referred a request that the youth be charged with multiple counts of indecent exposure back to police for additional review.
It was not immediately clear if the student would still face any disciplinary action from the school.
(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Paul Tait)