Local News

‘Snapchat’ sexting scandal at NJ high school could result in child porn charges

A smartphone prank by some local high school students was actually child porn, according to prosecutors.  Now, a whole town is having a collective frank discussion about personal discretion, internet use and privacy.

“I feel bad,” said a Ridgewood High School senior girl about fellow students who had exchanged naked photographs over two popular applications, Snapchat and Instagram.  “They’re like, our friends.  We’re close to some of these people.”

“Everyone had the pictures.  Everyone had seen the pictures,” another student, a sophomore boy, said to PIX11 News.

“It’s almost like people think, ‘This’ll never happen to me,’” said Stephanie Weston, a Ridgewood High School senior.

What happened, however, ended up being big.  Now, police investigators prepare to file charges of possession of child pornography and endangering the welfare of a child against anyone who does not delete from their phones or computers the photos that some freshman girls took of themselves on the Snapchat app.

Ridgewood sexting scandal

A smartphone prank by Ridgewood high school students was actually child porn, according to prosecutors.

Snapchat is a popular image sharing app because it deletes pictures almost immediately after they’re sent from one Snapchat user to another.  In the case of the Ridgewood High School freshman girls, however, the images went viral.

The girls snapped the photos of themselves naked, and sent them to a boy they know via Snapchat.  The girls had assumed the images would be deleted about two seconds after they had sent them.

However, the boy knew how to screen grab Snapchat images before they disappeared.  He captured the naked images, and uploaded them to his Instagram photo sharing app.  From that point on, the pictures were online for anybody to see.

That was last fall, near the beginning of the school year, according to some students who had seen the pictures.  “They’d been going around school for awhile,” a sophomore boy told PIX11 News.  “People had seen them for awhile.”

Ridgewood sexting scandal

That was last fall, near the beginning of the school year, according to some students who had seen the pictures. “They’d been going around school for awhile,” a sophomore boy told PIX11 News. “People had seen them for awhile.”

School administrators, however, weren’t completely aware of the problem until last week.  The schools superintendent sent out a letter to parents Wednesday that said the posted images were “of real or simulated sexual acts… of naked or semi-naked persons.”

The letter called for parents to “promptly speak to their children about this behavior and to ensure that if their children are in possession of this type of material that it be deleted from their phones and other electronic devices immediately.”

If the images are not deleted by Monday at 7:00 A.M., the letter warned, anyone possessing them risked being arrested on child porn charges.

One mother, Jean Muchel, told PIX11 News that she had checked her 16 year-old son’s smartphone to ensure that it was free of the pictures of the girls. It was those girls, Muchel said, that she was most concerned about.

“They must be embarrased, humiliated.  These things can last a long time.”

The girls and the boy involved could face in-school disciplinary action, according to the school superintendent.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

31 Comments to “‘Snapchat’ sexting scandal at NJ high school could result in child porn charges”

    Wyatt said:
    March 14, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    as a ridgewood student I am appalled at the hipocracy of the media because this happens everywhere, its just not exposed like this

      Becky said:
      March 14, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      - hypocrisy
      - it's

      Start your sentences with a capital letter and end them with a punctuation mark.

      The poor spelling and sentence structure you used also reflects poorly on your school.

    meg said:
    March 14, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Hey Wyatt,
    Maybe if you spent more time in English class and less time texting, you would know how to spell HYPOCRISY.

    Joe said:
    March 15, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    Im not deleting jack-crap. these images will be stored and saved on a usb flash drive and saved and buried somewhere nice and safe….

      Jack said:
      March 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Would you think of helping a guy out?

    Charles Turner said:
    March 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    kid pranks – share naked pictures at your own risk. Lesson learned. Move on folks.

    Bad_News said:
    March 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Little phones causing all kinds of trouble. They should be banned at school.

    anne said:
    March 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    stupid girls. once you send something out you have no control over who sees it or uses it .

    scott said:
    March 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Well if it is children which are minors on both sides how can it be child porn when it is children doing this. I think it is not right but should be a parenting issue and enforce it that way via the parents or you will be tying up family court, even more that it already is.

    Mol said:
    March 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I think this is a prime example of laws not keeping up with technology. Ten years ago this wasn't a problem because the technology wasn't really used in such a way. In 2004, I was a Junior at R.H.S. and I don't remember anyone having camera phones. The laws used to prosecute child pornography where written under the assumption that those who would capture and distribute images of "children" would not legally be children themselves.

    xxx said:
    March 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Serve the boy right. I have no pity for his action. Hope he ends up in jail

    Anonymous said:
    March 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Kindly look up the word hypocrisy on your smart phone before replying.

    markmiller77e said:
    March 18, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Precisely the reason why I installed a free app called Qustodio on my home computer a while back. I do need to watch what my son is up to when online and the app actually allows me to watch the profile pictures of accounts that he chats with. Google for it.

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    March 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM

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    Anonymous said:
    March 25, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    The decline of America continues. The US is #1 in porn and income inequality between rich and poor. And near the bottom in student math and science scores

    Robert Wilson said:
    April 4, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    This is fucking normal. Adults have another thing coming if they think high-school kids don't share nude pictures of themselves. Something like this happened twice at my high-school. So… Adults/law enforcement are going to have a rude awakening sooner or later. They can't possibly prosecute everyone, that would mean hundreds of thousands of kids nation wide because I have not heard of a single high-school were this sort of his has NOT happened. In my opinion, news story's like this make the reporters look fucking stupid because of the ridiculous amount of ignorance towards the current generation in High-school. They always talk like it's 'such a big deal' and 'no one is going to believe this' well I have some news for you media, we do know about and frankly we all hope you never find out about all the shit my generation does.

      Rilbert Wobson said:
      April 7, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      Holy crap, I missed the whole point of the Article!
      -Robert Wilson

    Brian said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    This is just another way to suppress kids and continue feeding the privately owned prison industrial complex. You can almost be certain if that boy goes to jail, his life will turn in a direction which poses another drain on society. Yet the ignorant masses who can't think for themselves shout send him to jail.. Ignorance is bliss, but in America it is widespread.

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