Two teen students, ages 16 and 17, from Standley Lake High School in Westminster, Colo. are facing felony charges of sexually exploiting children for being involved in a sexting incident at the high school. The boys are accused of sharing a sexually explicit video that involved fellow underage students.
Fox31 reports that in March, a video that showed some Standley Lake High School students performing a sexual act began to be passed around by students at the school. Very few details have been released about the identities of the students involved or the content of the video.
The video was allegedly recorded by the older of the two boys charged, a junior at the school, who then passed the video around to other students including the 16-year-old being charged, who in turn also sent the video on to other students.
A freshman student from Standley Lake High who wished to remain anonymous described the situation in which the video was shot to Fox13, "Someone had dared the girl to do things with the guy with other kids in the car. Someone pulled a camera out to videotape it and sent it around the school."
The video, which portrayed minors involved in a sexual act, is considered child pornography. Police don't know if the video is still in circulation, but warn other students that sending the video could result in similar charges.
The two teen boys being charged are currently out on bond, the terms of which include a ban of the use and possession all cellphones, 9News reports. The charges are third degree felonies which for adults can mean decades in prison, but since the boys are minors they might face a maximum of two years in juvenile detention and may even have to register as sex offenders.
About a week after the police opened a sexting investigation at the high school, the department then opened an investigation on a fellow officer involved in the case who has since been fired as of April 4, The Denver Post reported. The officer's identity and the details as to why the officer lost his or her job have not been released.
A recent USA Today report showed that sexting amongst teenagers is common and is often linked to psychological distress. Some of the Boston area high school students who were surveyed and had participated in sexting were said to be more likely to report being depressed or even suicidal.
An Associated Press-MTV poll from 2009 found that one in four teens had been involved in sexting in some form, but that percentage could be even higher now as phone technology gets more sophisticated and ubiquitous, as a special ABC News report indicated in 2011.