Town officials, police and school authorities are encouraging parents to talk with their children about texting, emailing and putting inappropriate photos of themselves online after a mother reported that someone posted nude photos of her teen daughter on Twitter and Instagram.
Investigators said they “have potentially identified numerous victims” who are students enrolled in the Wake County school system. The victims are all high school students from the Enloe, Athens, Rolesville, Holly Springs, Heritage and Middle Creek campuses, court records show.
No arrests have been made. Police are being assisted in their investigation by Wake school officials, according to a search warrant application made public Tuesday at the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office.
“The Wake County Public School System is working with law enforcement as it investigates criminally inappropriate use of photographs involving Wake County students,” school officials said in a statement Tuesday. “The school district takes such actions seriously and will assist investigators in any and all efforts to identify and prosecute offenders.”
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Schools spokeswoman Stella Shelton said some students apparently don’t understand the seriousness of posting inappropriate, sexually provocative materials on the Internet.
“When you take a nude photo and upload it, that’s not a prank. That’s a crime,” she said.
Wake Forest police began their investigation Feb. 12 when a woman contacted them after finding nude images of her daughter on the Twitter and Instagram social networks. The sites feature photo and video sharing.
The unknown person who posted the photos reported that the daughter was 18, but the images posted were of her when she was 14 or 15, according to the search warrant.
Police looked at Instagram links provided by public school officials and found nude images of males and females, along with one that displayed two people engaged in oral sex, according to the search warrant.
Wake Forest town spokesman Bill Crabtree declined to comment Tuesday because the investigation is continuing in a case that police describe as “disseminating obscenity.”
Investigators obtained the search warrant this week to look at Instagram records, including chat messages, electronic storage information, text messages and emails. Police also are looking at when the accounts were opened and personal information used to open the accounts, according to the search warrant.
Crabtree said he did not know when the police investigation would be completed.