A Westerville teenager was in court Monday afternoon, facing charges involving an alleged nude photo collage.
Police say the nude photos include underage girls as young as 13 years old.
10TV is not naming the 17-year-old boy because he is underage, but prosecutors say he posted the nude pictures to the social media site Instagram in early February.
“That nudity constituted a lewd exhibition or involved a graphic focus on the genitals,” Delaware County Magistrate David Hejmanowski said while reading aloud the charges.
10TV spoke with police sources familiar with this case. They tell 10TV the photos show underage girls, some of them completely nude, posing in front of bathroom mirrors, and some inside showers.
10TV’s sources say some of the girls were teenagers at Westerville Central High School where the accused teen was also a student.
The allegations have him facing two felony charges--illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and disseminating material harmful to a juvenile.
"The charges in this case are felonies and they carry with them detention in the department of youth services up to the age of 21 so, as felonies go, very serious,” said Delaware County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Rohrer.
Prosecutors and police say they hope cases like this serve as a warning to other teens and their parents.
"You may think that it's going to just friends but it is not,” said Westerville Police Assistant Chief Paul J. Scowden when talking about nude photographs. “It's going to several other people because they'll copy it, they'll send it to other people, and before you know it, it will be all over the world."
Scowden urges teens to think before sharing a nude photograph.
"It is not something that you want on your record for the rest of your life,” he said.
The accused teen has a pre-trial scheduled for July 3rd at 11:30 a.m.
- Talk with your student and set guidelines on appropriate use of their phones. This means no inappropriate texts or embarrassing photos or videos. Photos and videos have lasting effects when shared via social media.
- Tell your teen that sexually explicit material of any kind is not allowed. Have your child “friend” you or allow you into his or her social media circle (Facebook, Instagram, KIK etc…). This will allow you to monitor for questionable activity.
- While they may not think it is a good idea, you must look through your child’s phone and monitor his or her usage. If the device contains a passcode they should provide you with access.
- Establish real consequences when parental rules or boundaries are broken, and enforce them. A parent can cancel or suspend access to cell phone service if a child does not follow the established rules.
- Teens should always THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES of taking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it is of themselves. Students can be removed from sports teams, face humiliation, lose educational opportunities and get in trouble with law enforcement.
- Teens should NEVER TAKE images of themselves they would not want everyone–classmates, teachers, family or employers – to see.
- BEFORE HITTING SEND, teens must know they cannot control where an image may travel. What is sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend could easily end up with other friends and their friends and their friends.
- If a person forwards a sexual image of someone underage, that person is as responsible for this image as the original sender. A distributor in this instance could face child pornography charges, go to jail and be required to register as a sex offender.
- Teens must REPORT any nude pictures they receive on a technology device to a trusted adult, such as a parent or a school counselor. They should not delete the message.