At least 100 high schoolers and eighth graders in Cañon City, Colo., are under investigation for taking part in a “sexting ring” that shared nude photos of students via photo storage apps. According to the New York Times, members of the ring turned their photo sharing into a game complete with a point system that rewarded photos of the most desirable students. The students also used photo-sharing apps designed to look like common programs such as calculators in order to hide their activity from parents and teachers.
“I hope no other school has it at the level we have it at,” Bret Meuli, the principal of Cañon City High School, told the New York Times. "But I fear we aren’t the only ones.”
Many of the pictures involved students who are under the age of 18, which means, legally speaking, they are considered child pornography, which normally results in a felony. But due to the fact that most of the students involved were sharing pictures of themselves, and most of the students involved were minors, officials are unsure how to deal with the situation.
“Consenting adults can do this to their hearts’ content,” district attorney Thom LeDoux told the NYT. “[But] if the subject is under the age of 18, that’s a problem.”
LeDoux added that he hopes to avoid jailing most of the students and would “use discretion” while deciding what, if any charges to pursue.
The ring members are said to be split almost equal between male and female students. One of the students allegedly involved with ring was nicknamed “the pimp of pictures” due to his high score in the game. The school’s football team is also said to be heavily represented in the ring, a fact that resulted in the team skipping its final game of the season.