HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Caught sexting at just 12 years old?

Hastings Police are investigating two separate cases involving four children ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old.

“There were pictures of themselves in various stages of undress that were sent via text message to another person,” said Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell. “These are not just little local incidents. These now become international cases because of the potential they’re sold in other places in the world.”

The first case involves a 12 and 13-year-old sending naked photos to each other. The other involves a middle school girl sending photos to her boyfriend.

Defense Attorney Phil Villaume of “Villaume and Schiek” said these cases tend to start with two teens courting each other and can then explode.

“These up on Facebook and we don’t know what other social media settings,” Villaume said. “It’s just all out there for other people to see and take in.”

Both Schnell and Villaume said that’s why the teens could face felony charges, because the images could be distributed and considered child pornography.

“Especially when it raises to the level of child pornography and it opens the door for all kinds of allegations of sexual misconduct,” said Villaume.

If you think criminal charges are too harsh, police have this warning.

“Having these images out there for the world to see forever is a perhaps an even greater consequence,” said Chief Schnell. “This could end up in the hands of some predator, sex offender or someone that could ultimately sell their images to other people.”

In this case, Schnell said that’s why parents alerted police.

“The fear obvious is that it’s not just the interaction, which is bad enough, but the opportunity that the messages are forwarded to a lot of people,” said Schnell.

Police are now investigating the digital footprint from the photos they found, both cell phone and online records, to see if others could be involved.

Comments (13)
  1. Troy says:

    You can trust the Hastings PD when it comes to issues of child pornography. They have great deal of experience when it comes to CP, in fact, they know a lot more about it than you might want to know.

  2. justin says:

    Wait. We are going to prosecute teen agers for taking pics of themselves. Because they might later get sold? Why? If an adult took the pics then fine, but who do these people think they are, the morality police? This is for the parents to handle, not the police. If later they end up on some predators computer, then prosecute the adult for possession. Why ruin these kids lives forever with a stupid sex offender conviction? So the police and prosecutor can get their 15minutes. They think they’re saving these kids when the parents have to.

    1. Uncle Rico says:

      Their lives arent going to be ruined forever so, chill bro. Also- innapropriate is innapropriate, you cant make drastic exceptions for indecent exposure because they’re underage. Additionally, waiting for the material to show up on a predators computer has got to be the front runner for dumb comment of the day. Really dude, wait and see if it becomes a problem??? It already is a problem, a bigger one than the authorities can wrap their arms around. Society doesnt need this, these kids dont need this, and perverts do not need anymore opportunity to obtain material! Wake up. There is a lot of truth in what these cops are saying when refering to protecting these little kids from themselves. And give it a rest with the parenting blame, by the time kids get to this age they are making their own choices regardles of what they’ve been taught. At this age and beyond you cross your fingers and pray that they wont make you or themselves look bad.

  3. V_for_Vendetta1 says:

    Hastings Police Department charging children with felonies when this does not have anything to do with an adult. Is this a witch hunt. Considering Paul Schnell used to work for Saint Paul PD and what they do never surprises me (sleeping on duty, drinking on duty and a myriad of other illegal things) it doesn’t surprise me.

  4. Hmm says:

    They will not be charged with anything, they like to point out the what-ifs to try to deter others from doing this also, better hope no local priests get ahold of these photos.

  5. HDMC says:

    This is what happens when irresponsible parents put this kind of technology in the hands of CHILDREN! Technology does not parent!! And for what? So you know where they are at all times? You have no clue to what they’re doing, but hey you know where they are. Anyone ever say “no, no you cannot have a cell phone, why? BECAUSE YOU’RE 12! Now go read a book.”
    You want to see a drop in this type of activity, like I do? Charge the parents! They pay the bill, I’m sure the phone is in a parents name; charge them with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. End of story. Force these blind parents to wake up. morons.

    1. Billoween says:

      Why do the police have to deal with this kind of thing? Bad parenting that’s why, I agree with the poster above me.

  6. EJ says:

    You can get 3 years Federal time for 10 photos just for what these kids took. Parents need to educate their children, and Teens. Feds and local police have a lot of laws on this junk. And if they get charged they will have to be registered as a Sex Offender, which will keep them from many places of employment when they become of age to work. Take this digital junk serious people.

    1. @ej says:

      Please refrain from commenting if you have the intelligence of a tree stump, a crime like this would be filed under juvenile court, therefore when they became an adult it would not be on their record, also 0% chance they are charged with felonies.

  7. Nancy Aleshire says:

    This is one reason why parents should not allow their kids to text. Just give them a basic cellphone that can only make phone calls that kids can use in an emergency. Kids don’t understand the seriousness concerning what they did and texting gets expensive and it’s the parents that have to pay.

  8. Taylor J says:

    That’s what happened when you give a kids cellphones.. Haha.. What did you expected??

  9. randy says:

    Sending naked photos of themselves around………hmmmm……..sounds to me like they were just practicing to be future members of Congress …….

  10. Uncle Rico says:

    CCO stand for:

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