Reporting Susie Jones
LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Four Lakeville middle school students are facing charges for taking and distributing inappropriate photos of classmates.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said two girls, age 14, took photos and video of two other girls undressing in the school’s locker room last month at Century Middle School.
“Our hope in this criminal prosecution is not to lock these kids up, or leave these kids with a permanent record. I think these are young students that made a mistake and didn’t understand the extent of the harm they were doing at the time,” Backstrom said.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports
He said none of the images showed the victims naked. Prosecutors say one of the girls forwarded the photos and video to a boy who forwarded it to another boy who sent it to others.
The two boys, 13 and 14, are also accused of taking photos of girls’ buttocks in the school hallway and forwarding the shots.
The charges filed against the teens are gross misdemeanors. The names of the defendants are not public because they are teens. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys to comment on their behalf.
Backstrom also said he doesn’t expect the four to spend time in juvenile detention or end up with permanent criminal records. He added that social media can be difficult for young people to navigate.
“You know with the pressure that kids have today, with social media that kids use today, accessed daily, it can be used inappropriately and I think everyone needs to know where the line is. And certainly sending inappropriate text or video of other students while undressing in the locker room is wrong,” he said.
Investigators say the boys also took inappropriate photos of a girl in the locker room and paid her $5 or gave her a soda.
The school issued additional sanctions, and 16 students were suspended, the district said in a statement Tuesday.
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