BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Zionsville police said a website featuring nude photos of about 30 Zionsville High School students isn’t just isolated to Zionsville.
Detectives say teens as young as 14 from all over the state of Indiana, appear on the site, which contains thousands of sexually explicit pictures. The website, which 24-Hour News 8 will not identify due to its child pornographic nature, allows users to search underage girls and boys by zip code, all over the world.
Zionsville Police Detective Josh Samuelson has been busy, taking calls from both parents and students.
“We’ve had no shortage of calls. Most of the victims have been notifying us. They’ve been calling and identifying themselves as subjects on the image board,” said Samuelson.
Police received a tip from a staff member at Zionsville High School. Police say about 30 Zionsville students had sexually explicit pictures appear on the website.
Samuelson said there are typically one or two pictures per student but, “There’s some students who have up to six photographs of themselves on there.”
Police believe the site is based out of Switzerland. Therefore, prosecuting an overseas website operator is challenging because they don’t have to abide by U.S. laws.
The website is like forum, where people anywhere can post. Samuelson is focusing his investigation on who is responsible for posting the pictures, instead of who is responsible for the site.
“Anybody who is proved to have distributed those photos is subject to distribution of child pornography,” said Samuelson.
Police have been able to narrow down the suspects. They’re optimistic they’ll find the culprit.
“We do have several names that are popping up pretty regularly among the students that are talking to us. We’re following up on that,” said Samuelson.
Even if a suspect is arrested and charged, Samuelson said that’s not enough. He encourages parents to talk to their kids about sexting. He also wants teens to think twice before sending nude pics.
“We can charge people. We can get these things taken down, occasionally, but ultimately, it doesn’t stop it. It’s still out there,” warned Samuelson.
Samuelson added, almost every single picture posted on the site is a selfie that was passed on to a boyfriend or girlfriend who they once trusted. Some of the pictures featured on the site date back several years.