WEST ORANGE, NJ - In April, a teen love triangle resulted in the exposure of an underage sexting ring in Little Falls, including a sixteen year old boy in West Orange. The teens are still awaiting their day in Family Court to address the serious charges leveled against them.
Six juveniles in four New Jersey towns: Little Falls, Totowa, West Orange and Woodland Park, were involved in sexting nude photos. It began after two girls, a 17-year-old Woodland Park girl and a 16-year-old Little Falls girl dated the same 16-year-old West Orange boy at different times. The boy had passed nude photos of the Woodland Park girl to the other. The girls fought and the Little Falls girl threatened to post the photos on social media.
When students at Passaic Valley school heard of the threat they went to the school resource officer to report it in an effort to avoid a possible tragedy. Little Falls police investigated, retrieving cell phone information, and discovered additional involvement of other teens, including a 15-year-old Little Falls boy whom also hacked into personal "Kik" messaging accounts to distribute photos.
Images of a 14-year-old Little Falls boy and and a 15-year-old Totowa girl were also found on the original girl's phone who had made the threats, which contained 39,000 messages; both minors denied they had sent the photos. Several other local juveniles had also received photos and videos, some sent by the 16-year-old Little Falls girl.
The teens were charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography and fourth-degree possession of child pornography. The teen 'hacker' was also charged with wrongful access of computer accounts; the West Orange boy who triggered the series of events was charged with additional counts of cyber harassment and invasion of privacy; and computer theft.
An adult conviction for second-degree charge of child-porn distribution could carry up to 10 years in prison. Current statistics say that up to 70 percent of teens may have shared nude photos with their girlfriends and boyfriends.
Despite the ongoing efforts of local police departments to educate teens about the law as it pertains to sexting, most teens remain unaware of the possible repercussions. New Jersey has specific legislation that addresses teen sexting and may provide the teens with a 'diversionary program' to avoid prison sentences.
For more information on sexting, go to: http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/juvenile/sexting.htm.
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