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Yucaipa students busted in 'sexting' scandal

April 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's called "sexting": teenagers sharing nude or semi-nude photos of themselves with their friends. But of course those photos often get passed around. That's apparently what happened to some Yucaipa High School students, and those photos ended up online. "We became aware on Monday of a Web site depicting nude and semi-nude photos of 14- and 15-year-old Yucaipa students," said sheriff's spokesperson Arden Wiltshire. "Deputies with the Yucaipa Station went out to conduct an investigation and determined that there were eight female victims and there are four male suspects. The males are all age 15 and they're all students at the school."

The school district and the district attorney are considering what action to take next.

The district released a statement Wednesday:

"The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District is fully cooperating with an active police investigation ... regarding a 'sexting incident.' Since this is an active police investigation, it would be inappropriate to discuss it or do anything that could compromise the investigation."

"It just upsets me because we have to deal with pedophiles out there," said parent Shawntell Stewart. "And for the girls to take pictures of themselves and send it out to these boys, they're ruining themselves, and the boys are ruining themselves, and it just upset me. I don't think the boys would like it if it was their sisters. It's just all the way around just horrible."

The school district's news release offered advice to parents: "It is important in today's society that parents and educators work with our youth regarding the devastating consequences of having such personal photographs being posted on the World Wide Web."

The pictures on the Internet have been removed. The boy who placed them there faces serious felony charges. Investigators estimate that one in five teens have sent nude or semi-nude pictures to somebody electronically.