Man arrested for sending nude pictures through text

Published: Feb. 22, 2012 at 3:40 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2012 at 4:03 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - It's a story that may make you think twice before hitting the send button on your computer or smart phone.

Timothy Gerber of Chesterfield is facing two charges of sending obscene photos to a Chesterfield woman through text message. That woman tells us she met Gerber online through a dating website, but never met him in person. This all dates back to about 2 years ago.

Debbie Shelton ended up getting the shock of her life. Nearly two years go by before Timothy Gerber, the man she met on that dating website, tried to reconnect with her through text.

"He kept saying and was adamant about me being alone with him," said Shelton.

Then she says the words became pictures. First, two of his face shirtless. The next two were much more revealing. So revealing, we had to blur them out.

"I was shocked," said Shelton.  "I'm laying in bed watching the news and I'm getting these pictures from this guy."

But the question is, are the pictures "obscene?" That's what Gerber is charged with.

We asked our legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

"Simply taking a naked picture of yourself, in the mirror or something like that, in itself is not obscenity," said Benjamin. "There's no law that I can think of that makes it a crime to send a naked picture to another adult. Where you get into trouble if it's something other than just naked, such as being visibly aroused or doing something with yourself."

That's now up to a judge to decide about Debbie's case. She says it went too far and decided to get the charges brought against Gerber.

"We'll have to go to court and I'll have to see him in court. That's going to be hard," she added.

We went to the house where Timothy Gerber lives to get his side of the story. But no one answered the door.

Gerber has a preliminary hearing set for April 12th in Chesterfield County. The two charges he is facing are misdemeanors.

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