Long term risks of Sexting

Skepticism among data-hungry academics has risen recently with at least two studies questioning the threat level posed by a host of Internet crimes involving children, including “sexting,” or sending nude photos to others, a practice some say is pervasive among young people.

One Utah officer with nearly a decade of experience investigating Internet crimes against children said skeptics may want to reserve their doubts.

Like the Catholic priest abuse scandal, this scandal may take years before its full breadth is known, said Capt. Rhett McQuiston, the director of Utah’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Last month, an academic from York University in Toronto compared teens sharing nude photos to games of spin-the-bottle, though he acknowledged technology poses more risks.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff fired back, saying among other things that sexting photos can find their way into collections of child pornography shared on the Internet.

“Children playing doctor or spin-the-bottle don’t risk having millions of people, including child predators, looking at their nude photos from now until the end of time,” Shurtleff said in a statement.

But when video child pornography of the most vile and explicit is just a few mouse clicks away, are child pornographers really collecting grainy cell phone self-portraits of juveniles posing in the mirror with their shirts off?

They absolutely are, McQuiston said. He admits quickly that he has only anecdotes and no data to prove his point, but he provided an “educated guess” that about 25 percent of the images contained in the task force database of known child pornography originated as sexting photos.

“It’s usually a young teenager or ‘tween’ where they’re actually taking a photo of themselves without a shirt or totally nude in the bathroom mirror with their cell phone camera. I’ve seen literally thousands of those types of images,” McQuiston said.

He said he’s seen so many of those images because they end up on the computers of people the task force arrests for possession of child porn.

Sexting is happening a thousand times a day, McQuiston said, but the only time law enforcement finds out is when either the sender or receiver disseminates the photo — often on social networking sites like My Space or Facebook. Or when some unwittingly “share” it with other Internet users on a peer-to-peer file-sharing program like those used to download MP3 music files. Limewire, Kazaa and other programs fit in this category.

“If you don’t go in and turn off your computer to share what you have, then while you’re on there downloading music, someone else is looking through all your computer files, seeing what they want. … Most people don’t know that,” McQuiston said.

“Type ‘girlfriend’ or ‘nude,’ and all of a sudden, we’re inside someone’s computer, seeing what’s saved.”

At other times, a scorned teen lover or other malefactor may purposefully disseminate a photo that was intended to be private, as was the case in a recent incident Utah’s ICAC Task Force helped investigate that concluded this week in Oregon.

In 2007, Utah’s task force learned of 42 images of suspected child pornography that an Oregon man had sent to a man in Massachusetts.

According to The Salem News, at least one of the Oregon man’s Internet girlfriend’s sexting photos were included in that collection. Among that man’s home collection of child pornography, Salem News reports, were the nude photos of two other girlfriends, one of whom held a sign next to her naked body that reads “Kyle owns this.”

Once one collector has the photo, McQuiston said, it can become a regularly traded part of larger collections of similar pictures.

Because of the hunger for fresh images, McQuiston said, collectors are always on the lookout for new files and eager to share them with others.

He worries that, as cell phones with video cameras become cheaper and more pervasive, the trend could accelerate.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings was an early official to say publicly that the sexting trend had not spared the Beehive State. In January 2008, he released details of the case, but not the names, involving nine Farmington Junior High students who were sharing nude photos of each other, which at that time was a felony crime.

Rawlings later advocated for changes in that law, which made sexting a misdemeanor for juveniles.

He agreed with McQuiston that the problems of sexting photos can accumulate over time. He also said teens’ lives can be negatively affected even if no child predators ever see the image.

“You go to your 20-year high school reunion and Tony still has your picture,” Rawlings said. “Even if it doesn’t get disseminated to a broader base than just a circle of friends … those kids still have it, and who knows what they’re going to do with it later in college or beyond?”

Children must be protected

Sometimes that includes protecting them from themselves

and their youthful judgments

Published in: on June 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Terry W. Martin – Repeat Sex Offender – Sexting

A Level 3 sex offender was arrested Tuesday after police learned he was sending obscene images of himself to a 14-year-old girl.

Terry W. Martin, 48, was booked into the Pima County jail on suspicion of furnishing harmful items to minors, said Sgt. Fabian Pacheco, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

The 14-year-old girl’s mother found the images on a cell phone and contacted police, Pacheco said.

Detectives learned that the girl thought she was contacting a 14-year-old boy but later received photos of Martin’s body parts.

It is unclear how Martin came into contact with the girl, Pacheco said.

Martin was identified as the person in the photos and was arrested.

Martin was already on intensive probation for sexual conduct with a minor. Level 3 sex offenders are considered to be the most likely to re-offend.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Vermont Governor signs sex-offender registry bill – includes Sexting

Gov. James Douglas signed into law a pair of bills designed to eliminate profits from crimes and a comprehensive set of new requirements, restrictions and consequences for the state’s sex offender registry and teen “sexting”

Flanked by lawmakers and law enforcement during a ceremony Monday at the Rutland Police Department, Douglas signed S. 26 and S. 125 into law.

The first bill, inspired by a fatal shooting in which police said a wife killed her husband in West Rutland, deals with the legal disposition of property upon a person’s death. It would prohibit a person who stands to make financial gains from another’s death from reaping those rewards if they are charged with or convicted in the person’s death.

The other new law serves as a supplement to a law passed at the start of the year, which increased potential penalties for those convicted of sex crimes in the state.

The new law institutes stricter registry requirements for sex offenders and broadens the information available to the public about offenders’ whereabouts. It also addresses “sexting” — the practice of sending indecent or pornographic images electronically — by minors. Teens who violate the law face a juvenile offense handled in either family court or through diversion programs.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

Anthony Hill – Repeat Sex Offender – Sexting Predator

A Cambria County man already listed as a sexual predator on the Megan’s Law National Registry is facing new sex-related charges.

Johnstown police said 28-year-old Anthony Hill was arrested over the weekend on charges he sent sexual text messages and inappropriate photos to a 15-year-old girl.

Police said Hill also asked the girl to sent pictures of herself wearing a thong to him. Hill was arraigned Monday night with bail set at $20,000.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Jacob Osterkamp – Repeat Sex Offender

“are you male or female… I’m just looking for a friend.”

Police say Jacob Osterkamp sent that text message to a random woman in Tucson.

“Out of curiosity or whatever, she replied and said she was a 13 year old female,” Sergeant Fabian Pacheco.

The police report says the suspect said he was a 28 year old male, named “Jake”. The texting continued with statements like.. “what color panties do you have on” and “cotton or silky.”

“All sexual in nature and he kept asking a lot of obscene things,” Pacheco explained.

The report says he then asked if she would like to meet him some time, “should we rent a room?”

That’s when the woman reported the text messages to police.

The officers, using her phone, continued the conversation.

“Messages he was sending to a person he thought was a 13-year-old female.”

Detectives got cell phone records. Through them, they identified Osterkamp, a level two sex offender, as their suspect. Then, posing as the 13 year old, police set up a meeting on the Northwest side.

Pacheco explained, “It was on May 6th that he’s intending to meet this 13 year old female victim, but he didn’t show up.”

When Osterkamp didn’t show up at the meeting place, officers made their way to his home in Picture Rocks and arrested him. According to the police report, they got a search warrant and found his cell phone under the cushions on the couch.

“It was very shocking. I had no idea he was living across there,” David Williams told KOLD.

Williams has a four-year-old son and a twelve-year-old daughter.

“My daughter riding her horses and things like that. And other girls walking around here. It’s a very scary situation,” Williams said.

A situation he hopes he doesn’t have to worry about with Osterkamp now in jail. “I want him there, I want him there forever. I mean somebody like that doesn’t belong on the streets at all.”

Williams says after this he’ll be checking who’s living next door.

“Now that I’m aware of it, i’ll be doing a lot more research on that and talking to local sheriff’s departments to find out where they are and how many more are around,” Williams said.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte