Middle School Students Charged with Child Porn Following Sexting Scandal

In both cases, the distribution involved multiple victims and recipients, police said

Two students have been charged with possession of child pornography following a sexting scandal at a northwest suburban middle school, officials said.

Barrington police said one boy distributed “sexually explicit videos and photographs” of fellow students. Another boy sent out sexually explicit photographs and was in possession of similar video, according to authorities.

Once the boys received the original sexually explicit material, they redistributed it to a large group of classmates via text messages, police said.

In both cases, the distribution involved multiple victims and recipients, authorities said.

The racy photos and videos were discovered last month after students reported rumors to their parents and school counselors.

Five students involved in the sexting incident at Barrington Middle School are eighth graders between 13 and 14 years old, officials said at the time.

The two boys were released to their family members following their arrests and will be petitioned into Cook County Juvenile Court, police said.

"It was contained to just our students here at the middle school. That was one of the things police immediately started working on, making sure they were investigating the devices that were involved, checking to see what kind of content was on the devices, deleting the information from the devices as quickly as possible," school principal Dr. Craig Winkelman said.

Administrators at Barrington Middle School - Station Campus sent a letter home to parents asking them to explain to their children the dangers of sexting and how it could affect their futures.

Barrington police, who are working with Barrington School District 220, the state's attorney's office and Children's Advocacy Center in Cook County, are urging parents to use the incident “as an opportunity for discussion with their teens and students about appropriate technology use.”

They advise parents to set guidelines with children on appropriate use of their phones, to have children “friend” them or allow them into their social media circles and to look through their children’s phones to monitor their usage.

At least two other suburban middle schools have since reported similar incidents.

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