Newtown High students arrested for sexting scheme, selling explicit photos of peers

High School Students Arrested for Sexting Scheme, Selling Explicit Photos

NEWTOWN — Police have concluded a several-months-long investigation into sexting at Newtown High School, and the result was three arrests and 20 referrals to community service.

In May 2015, Newtown Police Department High School Resource Officer Liam Seabrook began an investigation after administrators were made aware that sexually explicit photos and videos of juvenile students were being circulated.

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The investigation initially revealed that numerous male and female students created the images and videos themselves outside of school, and that those images were then sent to other students through Snapchat, Facetime, iMessage, Kik and other text messaging applications.

It was also learned that the recipients of the images and videos saved them and then resent them to other people, who weren't the intended recipients.

Later in the investigation it was determined that beyond resending the photos and videos to other students, some students were selling the photos and videos to make a profit.

The Newtown police worked with the Board of Education, and more than 50 students were interviewed. Phones were seized, and parents were called in for the interviews too. Some of the students were witnesses, and it was determined that others weren't involved.

Police arrested three students, and 20 other students were referred to a community-based Juvenile Review Board.

The JRB is a program designed for local leaders to issue less severe punishments for criminal actions made by minors. The board meets with the student and his or her parents, and then the student has to admit guilt. Then the board issues a consequence, which is typically some form of community service, but it keeps the minor out of the criminal justice system.

If the minor completes the sentence and adheres to the board's recommendations, he or she is cleared and does not have a record. If not, the child is arrested and put into the juvenile justice system.

The students who were arrested in this case were charged with obscenity as to minors, obscenity, transmission or possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

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