Alleged sexting lands Fayetteville high school QB on the bench

Posted August 31, 2015
Updated September 1, 2015

— It is unclear when Cormega Copening will be back under center for the Jack Britt High School football team. The quarterback, who started for the Buccaneers Aug. 21 but was benched last Friday, faces sex charges and won't be back on the field until his legal problems are resolved.

Investigators, looking into an allegation of sexual exploitation at Douglas Byrd High School last fall, asked Copening's mother for permission to to check out his phone.

Copening was not charged in that case, but investigators found five sexually explicit pictures that he had allegedly sent to his girlfriend. For each photo exchanged, Copening and Brianna Benson, 16, face one charge of sexual exploitation.

"Apparently he and his girlfriend were 'sexting' is what it comes down to, and both of them were under the age of 18," said Sean Swain, spokesman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. The exchange of sexual images of a person under 18, even with another person under that age, constitutes a crime in North Carolina.

Although Copening was charged early this year, Leon Mack, director of athletics for Cumberland County Schools, said no one at his old school, Douglas Byrd or his new school, Jack Britt, knew about the felony charges until Copening got into a confrontation with a female student and the school reviewed his record.

In that incident, Copening claims he threw a football that broke the girl's windshield, while she claims he broke it as retaliation after she bumped him with her car.

Copening has a court date on Sept. 30 on the sex charges. If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender.


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  • Belle Boyd Sep 1, 2015
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    Teenagers will be teenagers. As others have pointed plenty of teens do it. It is silly to brand both of them sex offenders. I don't like how fed and state laws contradict each other sometimes. Technical by NC law they are adults so no harm done. But fed law says you have to be able 18 or age of majority to be an adult. I say let the adult age be 16. I mean in Europe you are allowed to drink at 15. Here it is a no no but teens still do it. I'm just saying we shouldn't really have laws that contradict each other because then it becomes a mess.

  • Gabrielle Williams Sep 1, 2015
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    why do you all keep posting this boys picture? You don't have her picture up. they were both 16 when this happened. This should be a matter for the parents not the media and the school.

  • Mariel Elusive Sep 1, 2015
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    I think this is stupid BUT the girl needs to be treated EXACTLY THE SAME way, plaster face and name everywhere. He is no more guilty than she is, but neither one should be facing these charges.

  • Salatheal Hasty Sep 1, 2015
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    Praise The Lord to all these Saints on here...Acting like they have been 100% Holy and Pure during their hormone raging years...LOL

  • Sam Nada Aug 31, 2015
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    "Sam Nada, good try, this law was on the books in NC in 2009 or before, so I hate to break it to you but the current administration had nothing to do with it."

    I didn't say it was the current admin. It was the religious right whenever it was. If he sent her pics to someone without her consent then that's a problem, and I would agree with charges. If it was only between two consenting people then I stand by what I've posted.

  • Angela Wall Aug 31, 2015
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    Folks, the crime is not sexting (sending suggestive words is also sexting), but rather dissemination of child pornography. It is a Federal crime as well. Sam Nada, good try, this law was on the books in NC in 2009 or before, so I hate to break it to you but the current administration had nothing to do with it. The reason they are trying to crack down on it is because there have been cases of teen sexting where the relationship goes sour and one party disseminates the other party's pics. It's very easy with a smart phone to send things out quickly and to a WIDE audience who could then do the same resulting in exponential dissemination. Apparently the victims of this have harmed themselves due to embarrassment and humiliation. I agree that sending it out in this way should be a crime, but two people sending and receiving private messages between them should not land either in prison or on a sex offender registry. And somebody tell me why his picture is posted front and center?

  • Sam Nada Aug 31, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Sexting between consenting people above the age of consent with little difference in age should not be a crime. Period.

  • Ray Lee Smythe Aug 31, 2015
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    He was already awaiting trial on felony sex charges. Maybe he violated his bond agreement by sending and receiving nude pics. Perhaps that's why the deputies asked to see the phone.

  • Michael Scuderi Aug 31, 2015
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    This is the most absurd thing I have ever read. They are BOTH minors. The sexting was CONSENSUAL. He has so much life ahead of him. Why the hell would you add him to the sex offender registry?

  • Sam Nada Aug 31, 2015
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    Some things to consider. The age of consent in NC is 16. How is this a felony? Also, according to a study last year about 54% of teens under 18 have sexted.

    Do we really want to make over half our teens felons and sex offenders for this "crime"? Seriously?