Officials Arrest and Charge 4 Boys Involved in Middle School Sexting Scandal
Four boys between the ages of 11 and 15 were arrested and charged with distribution of child pornography in a sexting and cyberbullying scandal that took place at a Philadelphia middle school last year.
Officials say that the four Chester County middle school students were criminally charged for passing around sexually explicit pictures of their underage classmate last year and cyberbullying the young girl.
The incident began in 2014 when the victim was still a middle school student in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. She says that she was coerced into sending nude and semi-nude photos of herself to her then-boyfriend, who promised to delete and not share the pics.
However, once the teens broke up, the boyfriend shared his ex-girlfriend's intimate photos with his friends after she began dating another guy. Eventually, the images were shared with more people, which led to an online smear campaign.
"We had a group of boys in a school in Chester County who used sexting, cyberbullying and traditional bullying to make a young girl's life miserable," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan explaining the case at a press conference, according to WPVI. "They isolated her. They made fun of her. They did everything they could to make her life hell on earth."
Hogan added that, "One of these boys actually took a picture of two adults engaged in a sex act, and pasted ... this girl's face onto that picture and sent it around."
As a result, the four boys were taken into custody.
"There are four boys in total that have been charged with criminal offenses. Those criminal offenses range everything from sexting, to harassment, to illegal use of a communications facility, to transmission of obscene materials," Hogan said.
According to Hogan, the circumstances surrounding this case are not unusual for teenage students in schools across the country. As a result, he urged parents to monitor their kid's cellphones and become aware that there are smart phone apps called "vault apps" that allow people to hide incriminating photos on their phone.
"Bullying continues," said Tredyffrin Township Police Detective Sergeant Todd Bereda, reports NBC Philadelphia. "In this day and age it's cyber-bullying. And this is a perfect example of what can happen when people aren't paying attention."