A 16-year-old girl's decision to send a naked picture of herself to a male acquaintence's cell phone has exploded into the largest sexting case Plainfield police have ever encountered.
Police have been trying to sort out the case since Dec. 16, when they were contacted by school personnel for help.
"It was spreading like wildfire," he said.
Novak was not sure when the girl sent the photo. But a churning rumor mill at Plainfield East led school staff to conduct their own investigation.
By law, school officials were authorized to confiscate and search the cell phones of several students, Novak said. Plainfield police used what the school officials found to get a warrant to take nine cell phones from sophomores and juniors at the school, Novak said.
Plainfield police gave the phones to Will County Sheriff's Department investigators, who may be able to extract deleted data from the phones, he said.
Plainfield police have handled sexting cases before, but nothing like this, Novak said.
"It seems to be becoming more and more prevalent, especially among kids of this age group," he said. "In the past it's been more boyfriend and girlfriend and only contained to them."