Two players for the top junior hockey league in the US have been charged with making and distributing child pornography after one of them secretly filmed the other having sex with a 15-year-old girl and then sent the video to a bunch of friends via social media, thereby becoming the literal incarnation of the phrase "fucking idiots."
Brandon Smith and Thomas Carey, who are both 19, met the 15-year-old girl while playing a game for the United States Hockey League's Lincoln Stars in Moorhead, Minnesota back in mid-February. According to the Fargo Forum's Emily Welker, the girl connected with Carey via Facebook a week before, and accompanied several Stars team members to the Days Inn after a game. At the hotel, the girl and Carey engaged in a number of sex acts while Smith was in the room.
Weeks later, the girl started getting strange messages from other hockey players and girls complimenting her on the "nice video." She then got in touch with Smith, asking him what the hell was going on, if there were images of her and Carey engaged in sex acts circulating, and if there were, to delete them. Smith said that Carey had been the one to take the video, and Carey claims it was Smith that did it.
Turns out, someone who was in the room — either Carey, or Smith, or both of them — had filmed the girl, allegedly without her knowledge or consent (something the men say they had). And one or both of them then sent that video to other friends, who sent it to other friends, who sent it to other friends, etc.
Why does the he-said, he-said nature of this case matter? Because in Minnesota, if one party engaged in a sexual activity is 15 and the other party is 48 or fewer months older, it's not statutory rape. But if that encounter is recorded, that's "using a minor in a sexual performance." And if that recording is stored on a device owned by one of the 19-year-olds, that's "possession of child pornography." And if that recording is shared with others, that's distributing child pornography. And all of those things are felonies. Which means that whether or not Smith (or Carey) had permission to film the sexual encounter doesn't matter.
The defendants' lawyer is pissed that the child porn law is being applied in a way he claims is outside of the intention of the law and vows to fight the charges tooth and nail.
The Lincoln Stars have suspended Carey and Smith for violating the team's code of conduct and, according to a statement, will determine the players' status after the legal process is concluded. Tough talk, but seems like a wrist slap in exchange for behavior that should warrant expulsion regardless of the legal outcome of the case. There's no question that the tape exists. Police have seen it, and the men being charged with crimes for making and possessing it have admitted it. And it's baffling that a sports organization — especially one with a name that so easily lends itself to an unfortunate nickname like "Porn Stars" — would even entertain the idea of continuing to associate with individuals who would engaged in that sort of behavior while visiting another town for a game.
There are plenty of non-child pornographers who are perfectly good at playing hockey.