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Students Face Possible Child Porn Charges In ‘Sexting’ Scandal

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textalerts180 Students Face Possible Child Porn Charges In Sexting Scandal

RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — Several students at two San Bernardino County high schools could face child pornography charges after allegedly sending nude photos on their cell phones.

CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom reports girls between the ages of 14 and 18 are involved in the underage “sexting” case centered at Rancho Cucamonga and Etiwanda high schools.

The investigation began Wednesday after an Etiwanda school resource officer was informed that inappropriate pictures of students were circulating online through various social media sites.

As many as five students from Etiwanda and Rancho Cucamonga high schools are believed to be involved, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials. At least two students have been identified in four separate images, officials said.

Investigators believe the girls took the nude and semi-nude photos of themselves and sent those images via text messaging, at which point the photos were ultimately posted on Twitter.

One male student is suspected of tweeting the photos, according to Finnstrom. Officials are working to track down IP addresses to determine exactly where the photos were sent.

While school officials said authorities have made every effort to remove the images from the Internet, they did warn that it is often very difficult to completely scrub images from cyberspace.

“Sexting” has been an issue that officials said they have been concerned about in high schools for years, and they plan on conducting an educational outreach at Rancho Cucamonga and Etiwanda later this week.

“There is a possibility of criminal charges…this is considered to be a felony,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokesperson Jodi Miller. “Technically, these are child pornography pictures that are being forwarded.”

Matthew Holton, Superintendent of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, urged students to consider the long-term consequences of forwarding explicit content.

“We really try to share with the students the embarassment, the damages, that are involved with sending inappropriate information via the Internet,” Holton said.

Sheriff’s officials said the girls themselves could also face criminal charges once the investigation is complete. The District Attorney’s Office will then decide whether to pursue charges.

Any person convicted of child pornography charges can face prison sentences up to 20 years and also be forced to register as a sex offender for life.

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