Monday, November 10, 2008

Salem High School Girls in Trouble for Naked Cell Phone Pictures

It's happened again! Underage girls taking naked, or nearly naked, pictures of themsleves with their cell phone cameras and then sending to their friends. They think it's a joke, but the cops call it another name: child pornography. Yes, apparently if you ARE underage and take pictures of yourself naked and send them to other underage students you are creating something illegal. This time it is happening at Salem High School in New Hampshire where two freshmen girls, one under 16, are thought to taken the naughty photos and then circulated them. Someone reported it to the school, who called the cops, who then started confiscating phones to try and, uh, "identify" the girls involved. Tough job.
Here's more on this latest naked teen cell phone scandal from The Eagle Tribune (Check out the quote from the kid at the end, he sounds a bit disappointed he never was sent the pics):

"So far, we've found two girls are involved, but there may be more," Salem police Capt. Shawn Patten said yesterday. "The investigation is in its infancy. We're taking steps to ensure people's privacy, but we're also conducting a criminal investigation." The photos, which were discovered early Wednesday, began circulating among students via cell phone.

Police and the county attorney's office are now investigating whether the distribution of the photographs warrants charging someone with distributing obscene matter, a misdemeanor, or child pornography, a felony, because the girls are minors. Police first learned of the photos Wednesday morning when a student approached a school dean.

"He had received a photograph on his cell phone that had been forwarded by another student," School Superintendent Michael Delahanty said. "It showed a student in a state of undress. It certainly is a picture that was inappropriate." The discovery prompted school administrators to call police, who later discovered a more sexually explicit photo of a second girl another student had. That girl was under the age of 16, which elevated the potential crime, according to Delahanty and police.

County Attorney James Reams met with all Salem High students during four school assemblies yesterday. He explained to them how distributing the photos could break the law and hurt people in ways they might not have considered. Reams said he worries such photos could find their way on to the Internet, where they could be found by child predators.

"I went there to impress on the kids there could be consequences (for) posting photos like that on the Web and how it related to pedophiles. ... I wanted them to understand if you put something on the Internet, it's permanent and you can't get it back," he said. "It can be shared by people and you have no idea who they are."

Delahanty said more students came forward after the forums yesterday to talk about photos they had received. "I would say it could be as many as 25 (students) or as few as 10, but I know as a consequence of today's meeting, more students have come forward," Delahanty said. "Actually, having students coming forward after something like this is exactly what you want to have happen and then you want the behavior to stop."

Most students interviewed yesterday said they had only heard of the photographs because of the school meeting. "I knew you could get into trouble," said Jharid Pratt, 17, of Salem. "But I didn't realize the punishment was so severe." Pratt said the assembly was the first time he heard about the photos.

Joe Albert, 14, said he heard rumors about the photos last week. Other students heard about it yesterday in the hours leading up to the assembly. "I heard people talking about it," said Rob Nee, 18, of Salem. "But I didn't get (the photos) and neither did any of my friends."

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