High school students in Harrison, Ohio, got a dose of reality earlier this month after a sexting scandal rocked Southwest Local School District.
School officials said that dozens of William Henry Harrison High School students were potentially involved in the sharing of numerous photos of naked or partially naked teens that may have been passed around for the past two years.
While it appears that the photos were taken by the teens themselves and off school grounds, police intervened as the taking, sharing, or sending of nude or nudity-related photos of a minor is a serious criminal charge in Ohio, no matter who took the photos.
In fact, students were told by officials that the criminal activity amounts to a felony under the law.
Police officers said they confiscated at least five cellphones containing dozens of the photos from students. The investigation revealed that the photos were likely shared through texting and social media networks such as Facebook and Snapchat.
At this point, it has not been reported whether any of the students have been criminally charged, but it's certainly a possibility.
Taking, possessing of distributing illicit photos of a juvenile is not just an adult crime. Juveniles, too, can be charged and convicted. Our firm has represented clients as young as 13 who faced charges relating to child pornography.
When a young person is charged with a serious crime like this, his or her entire future is in jeopardy. Although it may seem like what happened was just "kids being kids," the law doesn't look at it that way.
That's why it's so important for young people facing sexting or child pornography-related charges to be represented by a qualified defense lawyer.
Sources: WCPO, "Nude photo sharing investigation could bring criminal charges to Harrison high school students," Holly Pennebaker, Jan. 8, 2015; Local 12, "Sexting scandal involves large number of high school students," Jan. 8, 2015