A 19-year-old football player at Red Mountain High School in Arizona is facing serious criminal charges over a yearbook photo prank that no one noticed until it was already published and distributed.
In the varsity football team photo, Hunter Osborn exposed himself on a dare and the unedited photo ended up in the school's yearbook and football programs.
Approximately 3,400 students bought yearbooks containing the image before it was brought to the attention of school officials, CBS News reported.
Local police were informed of the photo last weekend and arrested Osborn, who now wears an electronic monitoring device and has been charged with 69 counts of indecent exposure and one count of furnishing harmful items to minors (a felony). Mesa public schools announced that it is now recalling the yearbooks to edit the photo.
The district is dismayed by the actions of the students involved in the photograph.
Their behaviour 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 co-operating fully with the investigation. Disciplinary action will follow policy and may be based on the outcome of the police investigation.
There were 69 students, ranging in age from 15 to 19, and 10 faculty members present when the photo was taken, according to police. Police said Mr. Osborn knowingly exposed himself through the top of the waistband of his football uniform pants during the photo session.
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."
Alex Labban, creator of the Change.org petition "Free Hunter Osborn," said the school is using the teen as a scapegoat.
"He wasn't the editor that approved it or the teacher responsible for publishing it and distributing it to students," Mr. Labban wrote. "The teacher responsible for the yearbook should be fired. Red Mountain High School is using him as a scapegoat instead of taking any responsibility."