INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two students at two Indianapolis schools reported sex crimes this week.
Both times the suspects and victims were teenagers and both times the reported offense was child exploitation and pornography.
The first crime was reported Thursday morning at Emma Donnan Middle School. The police report stated that a juvenile uploaded nude pictures and a video of another juvenile on Facebook. The suspects are a 13-year-old and 14-year-old girl.
The victim was listed as a 14-year-old girl. Officials with the school confirmed the report was made, but said the alleged crime didn’t happen at the school.
Hours later, another sex crime was reported at Shortridge High School. The report states there was a cyber/digital crime involving two minors and a cell phone. The suspect is a 16-year-old boy, the victim is a 14-year-old girl.
“These are very serious circumstances that have very significant, sometimes life altering implications for the person they’re victimizing and there has to be some response to it,” said Capt. Chuck Cohen, a cyber-crime specialist with Indiana State Police. He said there’s a statute in Indiana that protects minors from criminal charges if they consensually share explicit material with each other, however he said once the material is put on the internet it becomes a crime.
“This goes beyond a prank, this goes beyond something that is a childish discretion,” said Capt. Cohen. “Whether that prosecutor chooses to charge that person as an adult with a crime or refer them to juvenile probation for matter of delinquency, something that otherwise would be a crime, it becomes a very serious matter for the person that’s posting that material.”
That’s why Capt. Cohen said it’s helpful if parents properly supervise how their children use social media. He said it’s better to let them start at a young age, but make sure to watch over them.
“It’s the same concept as having your child have a bank account early while they’re still young enough that they will listen to you, they’ll take your guidance where they can still learn good habits and good skills,” he said.
Capt. Cohen added that it’s not uncommon for reports like these to pop up at the beginning of a school year. He said students are coming into contact with each other again. Teachers and staff are also around to take notice of these issues.
24-Hour News 8 requested more information on both reported crimes from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Indianapolis Public Schools Police Department but no further information was released.