Nearly 300 people attended a meeting Monday held by a Lake Placid principal to discuss the dangers of sexting among minors.
According to reports, the principal found one cell phone with a pornographic video on it, and that one video then turned into a “video that was passed among other students and shared with other students and social media was used to bully that student.”
The investigation has now allegedly identified 20 middle school girls that sent nude pictures of themselves to other male students.
The principal believes peer pressure forced the girls to send the pictures and video.
The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case for possible charges for child pornography or sexual exploitation of a minor.
The case was forwarded to the department’s Special Victim’s Unit because of the graphic nature of the images and video found on multiple Lake Placid Middle School student cell phones.
Police claim there were nude pictures of children between the ages of 12 and 14.
In addition to nude selfie pictures, police said they uncovered an extremely graphic video of a student masturbating.
That video is why the department is looking into the possibility that any students were the victims of sexual exploitation and/or child pornography.
The initial investigation started on Feb. 10 when a student allegedly showed naked pictures they received on their phone to a teacher. The teacher then took the phone to a school resource officer with the sheriff’s department.
With the rise of cell phone use, especially among teenagers, the practice of “sexting”—sending nude or sexually suggestive photos by text message—has become alarmingly common. When it comes to sexting, in Florida, the first offense carries a sentence of community service or a fine. If a student is convicted of sexting three times, it is then escalated to a felony.
Being convicted of an offense related to child pornography can have devastating consequences, including incarceration, a fine, and a very serious criminal record. If you are or your child is charged with any crime as a result of teen sexting, you need to contact a Highlands County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We can provide you with invaluable advice and protect your rights. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.