In the age of social media, information that is posted to online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is nearly impossible to retract. Although this may seem obvious for adults, teens do not always realize the implications of their online actions. Now, scores of North Carolina investigators are working to target teens who may be the unwitting culprits behind a series of internet sex crimes.
Young people who post nude photos of themselves online — even if their face is not in the shot — may be prosecuted for distribution of child pornography and other sex crimes, according to local authorities. North Carolina investigators in 10 counties are currently pursuing offenders accused of posting inappropriate photographs through Instagram and other social media programs. State officials say they received several complaints from parents who said that compromising photographs were being distributed through the popular photography program. Facebook, the company that owns Instagram, has been asked to provide the IP addresses of the alleged perpetrators in this case.
News reports indicate that the phenomenon was first discovered in Rowan County, North Carolina. At least five schools in that area are being targeted as part of a comprehensive investigation that may result in several sex crimes arrests. School officials in the region are taking several additional measures to educate parents and guardians about Internet safety, providing families with additional resources through phone messages and even a book about online security.
Teens may not realize that their actions in such cases constitute sex crimes. However, teens who are unaware of the law may still be prosecuted for internet sex crimes. Juvenile criminal defendants in such cases may benefit from the assistance provided by a local criminal defense attorney, who can provide them with additional information about their legal rights.
Source: WSOC TV, “NC nude student photo investigation expands to Rowan Co.” Jenna Deery, Feb. 27, 2014