Reporting Mike Hellgren
JOPPA, Md. (WJZ) — Disgust and outrage in Harford County after naked pictures of high school girls are posted online. Now parents are being urged to talk to children about what they post on the Internet.
Mike Hellgren has more on the controversy.
A student told WJZ that whoever created this page put out an email address, soliciting for these nude pictures. The sheriff’s office got involved on the tip of a parent.
Police say the Facebook page showed at least a dozen girls, likely all students at Edgewood High School. Classmates say some left classes in tears.
Lisa Horton’s daughter goes to the school and showed her the page, which has since been taken down.
“It looked like an account, a normal account. And then when you open it up and you look at it, it’s got naked girls. Of their breasts, waist down. Just naked,” Horton said.
“My daughter, who’s a sophomore at Edgewood, couldn’t even look at it anymore ’cause she said it was just disgusting. That’s the word she used. She said ‘I can’t believe people would post things like this,’” she continued.
Investigators have not yet identified the girls, and they don’t believe the images qualify as child porn because the teens were not engaged in sex acts.
“The girls most likely took these pictures of themselves and then shared them with someone–like a girlfriend, boyfriend, another friend. That person may have shared them with someone else,” said Eddie Hopkins, Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
“These pictures, certainly these types of pictures, can ultimately come back and emotionally harm these children sometime in their life because they’re out there now,” he continued. “Even though the page is off the site, it has been posted, it was posted for a couple of days, enough to get a number of hits.”
A Harford County school spokesperson told WJZ:
“Unfortunately, this is an increasing trend and we will continue to work collaboratively with community partners to bring awareness of the resulting risks and consequences of this kind of behavior.”
“Oh, everybody knows about it,” said James Easter.
James Easter, who lives near the school, says a friend showed him the page.
“He named every girl on there, so everybody knows them,” he said.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has contacted Facebook and believes the investigation could take weeks. They say this is a cautionary tale.
“Once that picture leaves your fingertips, you no longer have control of it,” Hopkins said.
“You just pray to God when you’re raising your children they are listening to you, they know what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Horton.
The Sheriff’s Office says they are working to get subpoenas to Facebook so they can get access to some of the previous versions of the website and more information about the person who posted that page.
Edgewood High was part of the page name. The sheriff’s office is not revealing the rest. Their special child advocacy group is assisting in the investigation.