Local Dad Faces Charges After “Junk” Accidentally Goes Viral
By Fred Furnace
Published March 22nd, 2015
BALLSTON SPA — Gerald Tinkle’s new smart phone was supposed to help propel the self-described “behind-the-times dad” into the 21st century. Instead, it put the 48-year-old Ballston Spa man at the center of a social media firestorm.
Tinkle, who purchased his first smart phone Friday, admits he could not resist the urge to send sexually explicit texts — commonly referred to as “sext” messages — to his wife, Debbie.
Unbeknownst to Tinkle, however, he sent the lewd messages as a reply to a “group“ text his wife sent earlier that afternoon. As such, several other individuals — including his 16-year-old daughter, Ashley — also received Tinkle’s message.
"I never sent texts before," explained Tinkle. "I guess I didn’t understand how it worked. I thought I was sending private messages to my wife. I was horrified to learn they also went to my daughter."
Tinkle’s nightmare didn’t stop there.
His daughter "thought it would be funny" to Tweet the messages — including a photo of Tinkle's erect penis — to her Twitter followers. From there, the photos were re-Tweeted thousands of times. By Sunday night, the hash tag — #mydadsjunk — was the number three trending item on Twitter.
"This is a disaster," said Tinkle. "There was so much pressure to get a stupid iPhone, but maybe none of this would have happened if I had just kept my old flip phone.”
SUNY Cobleskill Psychology Professor Burt Wilkerson explained that so-called “smart” phones could sometimes transform responsible, upstanding adults into sexual deviants.
"The freedom to instantly send lewd photos is too much for certain members of the population," Wilkerson said. "Those predisposed to the ‘naughty gene' are thus tempted to use their smart phone to text nude images of themselves to friends and significant others. It looks like that is what happened here, with unfortunate results.”
Tinkle now could face criminal charges as a result of his gaffe. Transmitting pornographic images to minors through interstate telecommunications devices — even by mistake — is a Class C felony under the federal criminal code.
"We'll take a harder look at the evidence, but I'd say we have some unique circumstances here," chuckled United States Attorney J. Huffington Limberger. "I can't see a jury actually convicting this poor schlub."