MENASHA (WITI) — Menasha police say they are investigating upwards of 50 nude or semi-nude photos of students uploaded to the web — and the police say about a dozen students, boys and girls, are part of that investigation.
Police say the teens involved are all between 14 and 16 years old — and most go to Menasha High School, but some from other districts may be involved.
Menasha High School students and their parents are talking about the investigation. Cathy Holmberg heard about it from her daughter Tuesday.
“It’s disturbing. I have two children who go here. One, I had picked her up for a doctor appointment and she knew what was going on and she was very disturbed by it,” Holmberg said.
Menasha Police Officer Aaron Zemlock says half a dozen teenage girls’ pictures wound up on the internet without their consent.
“Took pictures of themselves, sent them to people they knew, then those people, in turn, uploaded the pictures,” Zemlock said.
Zemlock says the nude and semi-nude photos were put on a password-protected website. The password got out to other students, and that is when the district was notified.
“We haven’t experienced anything like this, that was this large that was brought to our attention,” Zemlock said.
But it’s not necessarily rare. Some students say sexting happens more often than you might think.
“It’s bad and now everybody sees your body, I guess, everyone knows who you are,” Menasha High School student Myster Morning said.
The teens who posted the photos online could face criminal charges, which could follow them the rest of their lives.
“When you have people this age and you’re talking about nude or semi-nude photos, child pornography gets brought into the picture,” Zemlock said.
Zemlock says this will follow the girls in the photos too.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t stick with them that anything I put out there is there forever,” Zemlock said.
Holmberg says this is a wake up call. She says parents need to watch their children’s web use and talk to them about consequences.
“Anything that they text or anything that goes among the airwaves is gonna be there forever and you never know where it might end up,” Holmberg said.
Menasha School District’s superintendent declined to do an on camera interview. He says the district is cooperating with police and will not release further information to avoid compromising the investigation.