A 17-year-old boy in Perth, Australia has been sentenced to 12 months in juvenile detention for pressuring underage girls to perform sexual acts on a webcam and then posting the videos on Facebook.
The boy, unidentified for his age, created a Facebook account under the name of a known student bully, Australian Associated Press reports. He told a 14-year-old girl she would be mobbed and injured at school if she didn't expose and touch herself in front of a webcam, according to WA Today. The videos were recorded and posted without her knowledge.
The boy said in court that he acted as he did to avenge a friend, who was picked on by the bully whose name he used as a pseudonym on Facebook.
He pleaded guilty to child exploitation offenses, including promoting a child between 13 and 16 to perform indecent acts and recording and distributing child exploitation material between October 2010 and January 2011, according to AAP.
Children's Court Chief Magistrate Denis Reynolds said Monday that the boy said he would remove the video from Facebook if the girl had sex with him. Two other girls fell victim to similar acts by the boy, WA Today reports.
The boy's lawyer Annie O'Neill said in May he was "sexually naive," and his Baha'i faith prohibits him from having sex before the age of 18 -- so he knew what he was doing was wrong, but not that it was illegal. O'Neill added that it's "so easy" for youth to use social media improperly in this digital age, AAP reports.
WA Today reports that Reynolds told the boy his "behavior showed a callous disregard for a vulnerable young female," as one victim was "so totally frightened" and "felt sick and ashamed."
Reynolds also noted Monday, however, that because of the boy's faith and immigration from Iran, there were cultural differences to be addressed, and he would give the boy the least stringent punishment that would allow him to rehabilitate.
This news comes amid cyberbullying issues surfacing Stateside. Earlier this month, a Texas school district launched an investigation into an online "burn book" that targets individual students on a Facebook page.
Last January, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself after being bullied at school and through Facebook. One of her bullies, Sharon Chanon Velazquez, was recently released from Juvenile Court and spoke out on the Today Show this month.
Efforts to stem bullying has spread from regulators to celebrities as well. Facebook and Time Warner announced this month that they will partner to fight cyberbullying, and Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) signed into law this month a bill that would allow schools to suspend students for bullying their peers on social networking sites like Facebook.
Comedian and television personality Stephen Colbert also posted an "It Gets Better" video message to students on bullying last week.