Wednesday, May 28, 2014

13 year old Suffolk Virginia Boy Charged with Felonies for Alleged "Sextortion", By Scott Daugherty

Suffolk boy, 13, charged in alleged "sextortion" By Scott Daugherty   May 28, 2014

Suffolk, Virginia- Police are investigating allegations that a 13-year-old boy blackmailed as many as six girls into performing sex acts. 

At least one of the girls - a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School - told police last month that she sent nude photos of herself to the boy and that he turned around and threatened to forward the images to his friends if she didn't do what he wanted, according to court documents. She said he coerced her into performing oral sex on April 10 on a school bus. 

When detectives looked into her story, they learned about five other possible victims, documents said. 

The boy - who no longer attends John F. Kennedy Middle School - has been charged in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court with one count each of felony aggravated sexual battery and production of child pornography, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney James Wiser said.

Diana Klink, a city spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case, noting that the investigation is ongoing. 

Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokeswoman for the school system, said the boy was suspended and recommended for expulsion.  

The School Board's pupil personnel committee held a hearing May 15 and decided instead to transfer him to the division's alternative education program at Turlington Woods School for the remainder of the year, she said. 

The committee will revisit the student's case in August, Bradshaw added. 

Child welfare advocates and other experts on so-called "sexting" said the allegations illustrate some of the dangers teenagers face when they send nude photos of themselves to others. A key point: When a person hits send on a text message or email, he or she loses control of the attached image. 

"Never take a picture you don't want your parents to see," said Parry Aftab, executive director of, a volunteer organization dedicated to online safety. 

Jeff R. Temple, an associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and author of multiple studies on sexting, urged parents to share this cautionary tale with their children. 

"Use this as a learning opportunity," said Temple, who has researched the prevalence of sexting among high school students. He said teenagers - particularly girls - should understand they never have to submit to such "sextortion." 

"You are not alone. A lot of people are doing this, for better or worse," he said. 

Temple noted the results of a study he published in 2012 that found that about 28 percent of 948 Texas high school students interviewed admitted sending someone a nude photo of themselves. Boys and girls sent photos at about the same rate, but boys were significantly more likely to request such photos than girls, he said. 

The study found a link between sexting and impulsive behavior and substance abuse, but Temple said it is not something only "risky kids are doing."

"A lot of these kids aren't coming from bad homes," he said. 

Temple said most people sext because they are in a relationship or one of them wants to be in a relationship. 

"It's a modern-day version of 'you show me yours and I'll show you mine,' " Temple said.”We just didn't have access to a large distribution network when we were kids."