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Crime & Courts

Brookfield teen charged with distributing inappropriate photo of another teen

RIVERSIDE – Riverside police announced charges against a 15-year-old Brookfield teenager who allegedly posted a nude photo of a classmate to social networking sites, according to police reports.

Police were called to Riverside Brookfield High School to investigate a photo posted to a social media site where the victim was an RB student.

According to police, investigators learned that the 15-year-old Brookfield juvenile had illegally obtained a photo of another student that pictured her not clothed from the waist up. That student had then posted the photo on his Twitter account and transmitted it on his email account.

According to police, the teen said he posted the photo because he was being bullied by other students, some of whom were females. Police said he then sent it out in retaliation to friends and then on Twitter.

The juvenile was charged with one count of distributing harmful material, a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the charge can lead to up to one year in prison, police said.

Police said they have since recovered the photo and have notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C. to flag the photo.

Police Chief Tom Weitzel said they don’t see many cases like this in Riverside but up until a few years ago, they had seen none.

“I would say it’s becoming more prevalent,” Weitzel said.

Weitzel said the victims in all of Riverside’s cases were female, and in most cases, the photo was released as an act of revenge. He added the cases can be difficult to investigate and he was concerned some victims might not come to police for help for fear of embarrassment.

According to Weitzel, the ability for local police department to flag a photo has been a helpful development.

“That wasn’t available to us until recently,” Weitzel said.

Once the photo is flagged nationwide, anytime the photo is re-tweeted or sent out on the Internet, the person receiving the photo is flagged by the NCMEC and local police will be notified for further investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

Weitzel said that flagging of photos was meant to stop their spread on the Internet.

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