Despite educational privacy rights, a Moorhead, Minnesota judge is ordering prosecutors to subpoena the school records of a teenage girl. The girl is embroiled in a bitter child pornography case.
Two junior hockey players are facing child pornography charges. Thomas Ryan Carey from Moorhead and Branden Nicholas Smith from Castaic, CA are charged with making and distributing sex tapes of the underage girl. The prosecutor alleges the boys used a cell phone to make a sex tape with the 15 year old girl in a motel room after a game in February 2014.
According to the men, the girl contacted them via social media claiming to be 16. According to defense attorneys the girl recruited the men specifically for sex, claiming she wanted to have with a member of every team in the U.S. Hockey League. The defense attorney believes the educational records are vital to showing the girls past behavior and general state of mind.
On the other hand, Prosecutor Pam Harris claims she does not possess the power to force the release of the minor’s educational records without permission from the girl and her parents. Judge Michael Fritz has voiced his disagreement. While the judge acknowledges the Family Educational and Privacy Act, he argues that records may be obtained under specific circumstances.
Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers are keeping a close eye on the outcome of this case. Not only with the results of the subpoena clarify terms for seeking educational records, the state of Minnesota has never recognized mistaken age as a defense in child pornography charges.
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