BARRINGTON – The Barrington Police Department has charged two juvenile males with possession of child pornography as a result of a sexting case that surfaced at Station Middle School in Barrington shortly after spring break.
One of the offenders disseminated sexually explicit videos and photographs of fellow students. The second offender transmitted sexually explicit photographs and was in possession of similar video. In both cases, the distribution involved multiple victims and recipients. Once the two offenders received the original sexually explicit material, they redistributed it to a large group of classmates by way of text message, according to an official press release from Barrington Police.
The offenders were released to family members following their arrests and will be petitioned into Cook County Juvenile Court. Barrington Police will continue to work with the Barrington 220 School District, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Children's Advocacy Center in Cook County.
In this case, a Class 2 Felony could result in juvenile courts, according to a statement by Barrington 220 Superintedent Tom Leonard released Thursday.
Leonard said these students' futures "may be forever stamped by the careless use of an app, the tease of a text message and the unthinking post of an indecent photo."
Barrington Police and the Barrington 220 School District have released the following tips for parents:
⁃ Talk with your student and set guidelines on appropriate use of their phones. This means no inappropriate texts or embarrassing photos or videos. Photos and videos have lasting effects when shared via social media.
⁃ Tell your teen that sexually explicit material of any kind is not allowed. Have your child "friend" you or allow you into his or her social media circle (Facebook, Instagram, KIK, etc.) This will allow you to monitor for questionable activity.
⁃ While your student may not think it is a good idea, you must look through their phone and monitor his or her usage. If the device contains a passcode, they should provide you with access.
⁃ Establish real consequences when parental rules or boundaries are broken and enforce them. A parent can cancel or suspect access to cell phone services if a child does not follow established rules.
⁃ Teens should always think about the consequences of taking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of someone underage, even if it is of themselves. Students can be removed from sports teams, face humiliation, lose educational opportunities and get in trouble with law enforcement.
⁃ Teens should never take images of themselves that they would not want everyone – classmates, teachers, family members or employers – to see.
⁃ Before hitting send, teens must know they cannot control where an image may travel. When it is sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend, it would easily end up with other friends, and their friends, and their friends.
⁃ If a person forwards a sexual image of someone underage, that recipient is as responsible for that image as the original sender. A distributor could face child pornography charges, go to jail and be required to register as a sex offender.
⁃ Teens must report any nude pictures they receive on a technology device to a trusted adult such as a parent or a school counselor. They should not delete the message. Instead, they should involve parents or guardians, teachers or school counselors immediately.