Barrington students sent child porn to fellow classmates - FOX 32 News Chicago

Barrington students sent child porn to fellow classmates

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BARRINGTON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Two teen boys have been charged with felony possession of child pornography after sending sexually explicit images and videos to fellow students at Barrington Middle School-Station Campus.

One boy was charged Wednesday while the other was charged Thursday, Barrington police said. Police will not release the ages or names of the boys.

The charges come after the teens allegedly shared sexually explicit videos and photographs of at least one classmate from the Barrington school, police said. The distribution involved multiple students and recipients, police added.

Taking questions after school Thursday, Principal Craig Winkelman said a small group of eighth-grade students were involved. When asked whether more than one student was victimized, he said “there were several students involved.”

After investigating, school officials determined the photos and videos were intended to be private among the group. Winkelman said that changed when a couple of students decided to share them with others at the school, the Pioneer Press is reporting.

One of the boys began distributing the sexually explicit material on April 2 while the other sent out photos and videos on April 28 and March 30, a police spokeswoman said.

Winkelman said students alerted school leaders and some parents when those photos began to circulate widely.

“We’ve continued to work with all the students and their parents that were directly involved,” Winkelman said.

The two boys who are facing felony child pornography charges were released to their families and will be petitioned into Cook County Juvenile Court, according to a statement from the Barrington Police Department.

“Some situations in the life of a school district require a balance between care and compassion, consequence and correction. This is not an easy equation and often relates to an unfortunate incident. Such is the case with a small group of adolescents who clearly did not respect or understand the repercussions of risky online behaviors when using their technology,” District 220 officials wrote in a statement following the charges. “These students and their parents find themselves in a severe situation. Their futures may be forever stamped by the careless use of an app, the tease of a text message, the unthinking post of an indecent photo. In this case, the permanence of the Internet may be enough evidence to secure a Class 2 Felony conviction in the juvenile courts. The ‘delete’ button can never fully erase the reach of social media.”

Winkelman repeated that parents should talk with their kids about sexting.

“If you haven’t talked to your students about it yet, then this gives you a tangible thing to then bring up the conversation, something to point to,” he said. “It’s an actual example instead of just saying, ‘this can happen to you.’”

District 220, the state’s attorney’s office and the Children’s Advocacy Center in Cook County have assisted police in the investigation.

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