November 9, 2015
Colorado Sexting Scandal: Canon City High School Students Could Face Felony Charges

A Colorado sexting scandal could cause some Canon City High School students to face felony charges. An investigation into an extensive sexting incident at the school in the southern region of the state has many parents thoroughly review the cell phones of their teens.

Canon City police officials have warned parents to be on the lookout for explicit selfies their children could have on their phones and to take steps to prevent the images from becoming public, a Fox News report notes. Police Chief Paul Schultz told the media that administrators at the school gave his department a single cell phone which contained "several hundred" photos that officers are now investigating. The investigation includes measures being taken to identify the individuals in the sexting messages.

Superintendent George Welsh has not yet told the public exactly how many Canon City High School students could be involved in the Colorado sexting scandal, MSN reports. Multiple students have now been suspended from school due to their alleged involvement in the incident. Superintendent Welsh said the names of the students involved will not be released in order to protect their privacy.

The final football game of the season was cancelled on Friday due to the amount of Canon City High School players suspended in the sexting scandal. The team was forced to forfeit the game after it was decided that team should not be representing the community at this time.

Both male and female Canon City High School students were reportedly involved in the sexting scandal in Colorado. The investigation was launched on Monday after some concerned individuals contacted the school with a tip about the explicit photos being circulated on student cell phones. Approximately 1,000 students attend the high school.

A police bulletin given to parents offered details about the apps, which can be used to hide photos on a cell phone. The notice form the Colorado police also strongly urged parents to discuss the risk that any sexting photo send to a significant other can wind up on the internet forever and criminal charges could be filed due to the sharing of the pornographic images of minors.

Canon City High School has created a hotline for students to use if they are worried about getting in trouble for their sexting messages. Superintendent Welsh said that while some of those involved in the Colorado sexting scandal could face legal charges or serious consequences for their actions, prosecutors will employ "common sense" when levying criminal charges.

Jeff Temple, an associate professor and psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has studied sexting extensively. Temple said that his research indicates that about 28 percent of both teen girls and boys send explicit texts. The professor also said that sexting teens are more likely to be having sex than teens who don't engage in sexting.

Local District Attorney Thom LeDoux said he would consider whether or not anyone was coerced into sharing photos, if any adults were involved, and if sexual contact was corresponding results, when filing criminal charges over the sexting allegations.

In Colorado, the possession of explicit photos of minors is a felony. Many states have not reportedly "updated" laws intended to combat the adult exploitation of children and child pornography, since the smart phone boom began. If convicted of such a crime the teenagers would be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. LeDoux said he would only exercise that charging option if it was in the "best interest of the community" and if exploited victims emerged.

[Image via]