Mesa police: Case closed against football player who exposed self – azcentral.com
6 months ago Comments Off on Mesa police: Case closed against football player who exposed self – azcentral.com
Mesa police announced late Wednesday afternoon that the case against a Red Mountain High School student accused of indecent exposure was closed because “all parties involved no longer desire prosecution.”
The announcement came hours after a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office representative announced the office had decided against prosecuting the student. He had been booked on a felony charge related to exposing himself in a team photo that appeared in the school’s yearbook and in programs sold at football games.
A Mesa police spokesman said Wednesday that the case against Hunter Osborn, 19, was returned to police for further investigation but that the case would be closed.
“An assessment of the available evidence for the felony charge of furnishing harmful items to minors … leads us to conclude that the evidence does not establish a violation of the statute,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Osborn was arrested Saturday. Officers said he told authorities he was dared by a Red Mountain High School teammate to do the stunt when the photo was taken on the school bleachers in August. It shows a smiling Osborn, then 18, standing in the second row; his penis was exposed through the top of the waistband of his football uniform.
Police said Wednesday the school’s principal reported the incident in compliance with Arizona’s mandatory reporting laws.
Copies of the yearbook were distributed before school officials were aware of the revealing shot, and the photo was included in programs sold at football games in the fall, police said.
Mesa police booked Osborn on one count of furnishing obscene material to minors, a felony, and 69 misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure. Ten faculty members and 59 students were present when Osborn exposed himself and are considered victims, according to police and court documents.
Osborn told police he was “disgusted” by his actions, records state.
Red Mountain football players, students and members of the community took to social media to show their support for Osborn.
Since Osborn’s arrest was announced by Mesa police Monday, a stream of supportive tweets from students and adults using the #FreeHunter hashtag have protested the potentially life-changing charges against him. The general theme: It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and he has to take responsibility, but the charges seem excessive.
A Change.org petition created by user Alex Labban was launched Monday and had garnered almost 5,100 signatures by 2 p.m. Wednesday. It argues that responsibility for the distribution of the photo should fall on the school, not Osborn.