The girl was a freshman at Knoxville High School when she sent two photos in March 2016, one with a sports bra and underwear on and another that showed her topless with her hair covering her breasts. Marion County Attorney Ed Bull threatened to charge the teen with sexual exploitation of a minor after the photos were intercepted by law enforcement, unless she agreed to community service, a period of no phone and computer usage, and to attend classes on the dangers of "sexting."Had the girl been convicted of those charges, she could have been forced to register as a sex offender. Her parents issued a statement through the Iowa ACLU, which filed the lawsuit against the county attorney.
“We’re glad to see this matter put to rest. It’s appalling that a county attorney would presume to discipline our daughter by threatening her with the bizarre and terrifying serious criminal charges of sexually exploiting a minor—even when the minor he accused her of ‘exploiting’ is herself. He threatened our daughter with removal from our home, time in prison, and placement on the sex offender list. All this for texting photos that didn’t show any more skin than many swimsuit ads.
“It’s frightening to see the government step in with this sort of dangerous overreach and presume to play the role of parent. As her parents, we want to raise our daughter in the way we believe best protects her, including her self-esteem, without the county attorney imposing his own sexist moral standards and using dangerous scare tactics on a teenage girl.”