Police: Selfies by Maine high school students end up on overseas porn site

Posted June 06, 2014, at 11:12 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two local police agencies are looking into reports that photographs of high school women from the midcoast region have ended up on an overseas pornographic website.

But the lead investigator for the Rockland Police Department said there is little that local law enforcement can do. He said the situation should be a another cautionary tale for young people.

“Once images are sent digitally to anyone, you lose control of them,” said Rockland Police Sgt. Don Finnegan.

Finnigan said the matter was first raised to the Rockland police last year by an administrator at Oceanside High School East who had been made aware that there were possibly photographs of Oceanside students on the website. The issue was brought up again this week when officials at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro became aware of photos of students from Medomak as well as Oceanside on the site. Medomak officials contacted their counterparts at Oceanside, who again notified police.

Waldoboro Police Chief William Labombardie said he is investigating a case that may involve Medomak students and an overseas pornographic website. He said, however, he could not comment further on the matter.

Finnegan said he confirmed that photos of three Oceanside female students were on the site. One was 17 years old and the other two were 18 or 19 years old. There were images of younger students who might also have been from Maine, but the investigation has not been able to confirm that, he said.

The police sergeant said the photographs of these students were not sexually explicit but were topless selfies — photos they took with their camera phones in front of mirrors. He said topless photographs of people 16 years or older do not generally violate sex crime laws.

The photos reportedly were used on the site without the knowledge or permission of the students who had sent them to other people.

Finnegan said, however, that it would be difficult for the local departments to take action because the state police computer crime task force found that the site was based in either Switzerland or Africa.

“I wish we could know what is doing this and kick in their door and arrest them but this is outside our jurisdiction,” Finnegan said.

“Kids need to realize in a digital age, you lose control when you send,” he said.

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