State police are issuing a warning for Midstate parents. Troopers are investigating a group of Lebanon County high school students for taking pictures of nude minors on smart phones, then sharing those images.
Although the troopers are being tight-lipped, they said the investigation spanned six months and the entire county.
According to state police, numerous high school students across Lebanon County are accused of taking and sending pictures of juvenile females in various states of undress. The pictures were selfies taken by phone then distributed through various electronic mediums.
State police are trying to figure out how many students are involved and exactly where it happened.
"Once it's out it doesn't come back. At this point I think they're trying to figure out what is out and is it possible to contain it in any fashion for the benefit of the girls who may have done this," said Dave Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney.
The press release names Eastern Lebanon County (ELCO) High School. The superintendent, David Zuilkoski, said as soon as the issue came to the district's attention, they reported it to state police. However, Zuilkoski said that does not necessarily mean anything happened there.
Arnold said the incident should serve as a reminder.
"We see it entirely too often," Arnold said. "I can't stress enough how serious this issue is and I don't think a lot of people understand that it's that serious until it winds up where we are now where police have to get involved."
Once the investigation is over, the accused could be in a lot of trouble.
"There are a number of different statutes that apply to this activity. Some are felonies that require lifetime Megan's Law registration. That's how seriously it's taken," said Arnold.
"Shows that parents should take a larger stand within their home and have an understanding of what their child is doing and how they're free time is being used. I think it first starts with the parents and it mirrors from there," said Shayanne Singletery, a concerned citizen.
Most school districts have strict policies against taking sharing pornographic images. ELCO's policy can be found at http://www.psba.org/districts_policies/e/189/POLELCO237.pdf
Zuilkoski said it is something that is very hard to monitor.
State police said the same thing.
"In our increasingly connected society, it is difficult, if not impossible, to control the distribution of such images," troopers said in a press release.