Spring Hill police arrest 3 juveniles for 'sexting' ring - WKRN News 2

Spring Hill police arrest 3 juveniles for 'sexting' ring

Posted: Updated: April 5, 2013 5:27 PM
SPRING HILL, Tenn. -

Spring Hill police arrested three Williamson County juveniles for their involvement in an ongoing ‘sexting' ring Thursday.

Police reported the minors had been under investigation since October and face a total of 24 counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.

"There could be more charges pending simply because we have about 10 photos where we have not identified the victim," Lt. John Whitwell said.

Authorities said the investigation initially began as ‘sexting' between juveniles, but later developed into an exploitation investigation.

Police said the three individuals, who attend Summit High School, orchestrated a collection of nude photos of female juvenile classmates and exchanged them via email. Police said nude images of teenage girls were also found on their cell phones.

"Once they got these email accounts they could distribute them anywhere they wanted to. Other classmates [and] each other," Whitwell said.  

According to police, some threats were made to the female victims that copies of the pictures would be sent to their parents, other students or displayed at school.

"They would tell the females, 'Hey, if you don't give me another one we're going to either show these to your parents, share them with your classmates or even post around school or around the community,' and said they got more images of the females with that tactic," added Whitwell.

Investigators told Nashville's News 2 it is unclear where the illicit photographs were taken.

The three juvenile suspects were transported to the Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center.

On Friday, the Williamson County School system issued a statement which said, "At this time this is a police matter. According to law enforcement none of the alleged incident took place on school grounds or involved school property."

School officials added none of the boys have been disciplined by the school system.

Victoria Koloff's 16-year-old daughter attends another Williamson County High School, but said her daughter has friends at Summit.

"It makes me really really sad for the girls involved and their families, and the guys too, that they would think it's okay to do that," Koloff told Nashville's News 2.

Rodger Dinwiddie, the CEO of STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand), told Nashville's News 2 this is an opportunity for parents, guardians, and teachers to talk to young people about appropriate online behavior.

"This is a societal issue, it's not related to schools, it's not really necessarily parents, it's related just to the issues of how technology is just so improperly used," said Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie also said kids need to know they have a choice when they encounter situations like this, "Knowing that if something happens like this, one of the ways you deal with this is by not passing along pictures, by not passing along improper text messaging, [but] that somebody draws the line and says 'This is not okay. I'm not going to be involved with it'."

If found guilty, the Williamson County District Attorney said the trio could spend some time in the juvenile detention center, but would not be required to register as sex offenders.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this crime is urged to contact Spring Hill police at 931-486-2632.

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