A student at Red Mountain High School in Mesa is facing dozens of criminal charges for indecent exposure after a prank got published in the yearbook, according to the Mesa Police Department.
The student exposed himself in the varsity football team picture, Det. Steve Berry said. Approximately 3,400 students received a yearbook with the image before it was brought to the attention of school officials. The photo was also used in the football program, which was sold at numerous games to students and families, according to court paperwork.[Warning: Story contains graphic content]
Berry said police were made aware of the picture on Saturday. The student, 19-year-old Hunter Osborn, was contacted and interviewed about the picture.
Osborn, who was 18 when the picture was taken, told investigators he was dared to reveal his privates by a football teammate and said he was "disgusted" with himself, according to court paperwork.
The photo of the Red Mountain High School varsity football team was taken while players and coaches were on the football field bleachers.
There were 69 students, ranging in age from 15 to 19, and 10 faculty members present when the picture was taken. Police said Osborn knowingly exposed the top of his penis through the top of the waistband of his football uniform pants during the photo session.
Based on the photo and admission, Osborn was booked for 69 counts of indecent exposure -- a class 1 misdemeanor -- and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors -- a class 4 felony.
That number, however, could change.
"It is still an ongoing investigation," Berry said. "The number of charges may go up or down depending upon how the investigation continues."
If individuals in the photo are older than 18 and do not wish to press charges, the number of criminal counts could be reduced.
Osborn was released on his recognizance after being fitted with an electronic monitor.
A petition was started on Change.org to get the charges against Osborn dropped.
Students at Red Mountain High School expressed surprise at the severity of the criminal investigation.
"He made a dumb mistake a little bit, but I don't think he should be charged so heavily for that," senior Zach Anthony said.
Anthony and Brooke Bodrero, a sophomore, said they would not have noticed the offending image without being instructed where to look.
"It's something that's going to be on his record for the rest of his life," Bodrero said. "The consequences are a little harsh."
No one answered the door at Osborn's home in Mesa, but a neighbor described the 19-year-old as intelligent and considerate.
"I hope that something can be done so that this doesn't ruin his life, his career," said the neighbor, who asked to be identified as Jim. "He's been a good neighbor. He doesn't go out and party all the time. He has a job that he works at; he's punctual. He gets up and goes to school every morning. He gets up on Sunday and goes to church. I really feel for the guy."
The neighbor said school officials or yearbook staff should have caught the image before the books were published.
Statement from Mesa Public Schools:
"The district is dismayed by the actions of the students involved in the photograph.
Their behavior does not reflect the values of Red Mountain High School or Mesa Public Schools.
Upon learning of the photograph, school administration immediately contacted police and is cooperating fully with the investigation.
Disciplinary action will follow policy and may be based on the outcome of the police investigation.
The school and district are conducting an investigation to determine what actions might have prevented the publication of the photograph, so appropriate safeguards can be put in place going forward.
While the small size of the photograph as published makes the details difficult to discern, the yearbook has been recalled so the school can make a minor but critical edit for the inappropriate content."
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