Teenager Trey Sims forced to masturbate in front of armed police had his rights violated
A detective has been accused of violating a teenager’s rights after he asked him to masturbate so that he could take a picture for a court.
Trey Sims, who was 17 at the time, was told by detective David Abbott to masturbate to achieve an erection during an investigation into sexting in 2014.
The detective, who was charged with child pornography the same year, wanted to compare the picture of Sims’ erect penis to one that was in a video that he had sent to his 15-year-old girlfriend. With armed police in the room, Sims, from Manassas, Virginia, was unable to get an erection so Abbott took pictures of Sims’ penis anyway. Abbot then obtained a second warrant for a medical injection that would induce an erection so another picture could be taken, but there was widespread public outcry so police and prosecutors backed down.
A year later, Abbott took his own life after learning that police were due to arrest him on an unrelated child sex abuse charge. Sims, now 20, filed a civil suit in 2016 saying that the photographs amounted to an extreme invasion of privacy.
The case was dismissed by U.S. senior judge Claude Hilton last year but the lawsuit has now been reinstated. Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote: ‘We cannot perceive any circumstance that would justify a police search requiring an individual to masturbate in the presence of others.’ Sims’ lawyer, Vic Glasberg, said the photographs are clear evidence of what happened and that the facts aren’t really in dispute.
‘Everybody knows that this was wrong,’ Glasberg said. However, judge Robert King said that Abbott was acting to execute a warrant that was approved by a magistrate and had been obtained in consultation with a prosecutor. Julia Judkins, the attorney for Abbott’s family, said the family is considering its options, including requesting a rehearing of the case by the full 4th Circuit court. Judkins said the defence disputes the allegation that Abbott required Sims to masturbate in connection with obtaining the photographs.