Colorado sexting scandal
A sexting scandal involving more than half a Colorado high school football team could result in felony charges
The Cañon City Tigers decided to forfeit Saturday’s game against Discovery Canyon after the team was implicated in the scandal–along with many other students at the school, Fox 31 reported Thursday.
“A tip led to a couple more names, an interview led to a couple more. At one point it was, ‘Well, everybody is doing this,’” Cañon City principal Bret Meuli said, according to the station. “Of course, we didn’t believe them up front and the more we looked, the more we said, ‘You know, hey, we have to turn this over to the PD. This is deeper than us.’”
An internal investigation at the school revealed students were sharing explicit photos of each other and storing them on hidden photo vault apps, disguised as other applications.
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“It’s hundreds, and I mean it was flooring to us how many photos that we were finding on the phones that we confiscated,” Meuli said.
The investigation began after a tipster called the state’s confidential “Safe2Tell” hotline for students to report threats and dangerous behavior, the Denver Postreported.
The school board updated parents on the probe at a packed meeting Thursday night.
Earlier this week the district acknowledged on its Facebook page that “a number of our students have engaged in behavior where they take and pass along pictures of themselves that expose private parts of their bodies or their undergarments.”
Fremont County District Attorney Tom LeDoux will determine if any law was broken.
“The mere possession of these materials does constitute an ongoing crime,” LeDoux told Fox 31.
The station reported that even photos sent consensually could lead to felony charges and sex offender status, though LeDoux said his office would use discretion.
“We certainly have no intention of requiring under the law, a juvenile to register as a sex offender unless it is absolutely necessary,” the prosecutor said.
At stake Saturday at Discovery was a spot in the Class3A playoffs.
The Post said Cañon City could still qualify for the postseason despite the forfeit, but it was unclear what would happen if that occurred.
“This behavior is not representative of what we teach our kids,” George Welsh, Superintendent of Canon City Schools said.
Welsh says the students were taking the nude photos and sharing them, collecting them like trading cards.
“It got to the point of maybe a little bit of a contest, see who could collect the most,” he said.
Underage students could be charged with a class 3 felony for sharing nude photos.