A North Carolina high school quarterback is on the bench, facing felony charges and sex offender status for exchanging nude photos with his girlfriend when both were 16 -- all because of a state law one critic says "makes terrible sense." Cormega Copening, 17, and his girlfriend, Brianna Denson, were charged as adults in February for sending "sexually explicit" photos of minors -- themselves -- to each other's cell phone when the Fayetteville teens were 16. "In North Carolina you are considered an adult at 16 years old as far as being charged," said Sgt. Sean Swain of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department. "But to disseminate and receive sexually explicit texts, photos or videos, you must be over 18." Denson and her attorneys reached a plea deal in July, but felony charges are still pending for Copening, who was benched Aug. 21 from playing as quarterback for Jack Britt High School's Buccaneers when officials there learned of the charges. Copening was charged with two counts of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor after authorities found nude images he and his girlfriend exchanged on their cell phones. Each count is a felony charge and a felony carries at least two years in jail. Copening also faces the possibility of becoming a registered sex offender -- a punishment many legal experts say is unfair and the result of a poorly written statute in a state that declares its residents adults at age 16. Critics of the statute say North Carolina teens may be found in violation of the very laws that were written to protect them.