In March of 2014 The Anne Arundel County Police Department received numerous complaints involving sexually explicit photographs of juveniles being posted on Social Networking websites, such as Instagram. The images depicted mainly juvenile females posing nude or engaged in sexual activity. These images were posted on several different pages on the Instagram website and in each posting a different Anne Arundel County High School was referenced. Detectives were able to identify several of the juveniles in the pictures and learned a lot of the photographs had been taken either by themselves (aka:”selfies”) or consensually by another person.
The Anne Arundel County Child Abuse Unit detectives worked on the case month after month following leads and conducting interviews. In doing so, detectives were able to secure several search warrants where extensive searches were conducted involving the social media sites.
In doing so, detectives determined where the images had been uploaded to the different internet websites/social media outlets. A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s address where evidence was obtained linking a seventeen-year-old male high school student to the crime. During an interview with the male student he admitted to uploading images sent to him by other students on the internet. The seventeen year-old male high school student was charged on a juvenile citation with Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography. The juvenile was charged in late July. The investigation continued into mid-August where no other suspects were identified or charged.
With the new school year fast approaching, the Anne Arundel County Police would like to urge the public to be aware of these issues and to report occurrences to the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Instagram’s Help Center at http://help.instagram.com or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip Line at http://www.cybertipline.com.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department is also recommending parents speak with their children and explain to them the possible repercussions and dangers of taking photographs of themselves in a sexually explicit manner then posting them on the Internet. Parents have to explain to their children that it is never acceptable. As soon as a parent hands their child a digital device, be it a phone, a tablet or a computer, you should begin the discussion that sending or receiving inappropriate pictures is never okay, nor is sending explicit sexual messages. Discuss that this is no joke and they may face criminal charges as in this case mentioned above a seventeen year old male high school student. Remind children that once messages get sent they can be seen by anyone and can’t be taken back.
Suspect: 17-year-old male from Edgewater, MD Charged as a juvenile with Distribution and Possession of Child pornography