A student at South Whidbey Middle School was accused of possessing naked photos of several female students on his phone and distributing them to his friends without the girls’ knowledge, according to court documents.
Prosecutors charged the 14-year-old boy in Island County Juvenile Court March 28 with viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree. He could face up to 30 days in confinement if convicted of the charge.
The boy is not being identified by the Whidbey News-Times because he is a minor.
Deputy Prosecutor Tamara Fundrella said prosecutors filed the charges because “it went beyond one or two nude photos sent between an adolescent couple.”
“Our office will step in when those photos are circulated to others without the consent of the person depicted,” she said. “In the hands of school-aged third parties, these images become social weapons.”
A deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office started investigating the incident March 20 after school administration reported that the boy had shared nude photos of four or more girls with his friends, according to the deputy sheriff’s report.
The deputy tried interviewing the boy, but he was uncooperative. The deputy wrote that it seemed the boy thought it was all a joke: he laughed and said it was “stupid” that he got called into the office.
One potential victim indicated that the boy coerced her into sending a nude photo, according to the deputy’s report.
The minor said she sent a nude photo on Snapchat, an app that allows someone to send a photo that can only be viewed for a short time. The girl received a notice, however, that the boy had taken a screenshot of the image.
The deputy obtained a warrant to search the boy’s phone. Court documents do not indicate what was found on the phone.
Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff’s Office gives presentations at South Whidbey schools about internet safety. One of the messages, he said, is that sending compromising photos can have a longterm effect on a person’s life. They are “out there” forever, he said, and can surface at any time during a person’s life.