Child safety expert: Photos of Mount Si High School students likely being traded by pedophiles
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — A Mount Si High School student is under arrest, accused of posting “inappropriate photos” of his classmates on the Internet.
District officials are trying to figure out how many kids may have been victimized but they worry the students may be reluctant to come forward.
Kim Estes, a child safety expert, said it’s important for parents to share stories like this with their kids right away because similar incidents usually don’t stay on one campus, they have a ripple effect at other schools nearby, too.
“I think the reality is we’re going to see this a lot more,” she said.
Estes travels from district to district, warning parents about the dangers lurking between their children and the Internet.
“This is not exclusive to high school kids,” she added.
On Wednesday afternoon, police arrested a male student on the Mount Si High School campus. Detectives believe he posted inappropriate images of his classmates, both boys and girls, on social media sites.
“That’s actually sickening actually, I would never do it,” said senior Caitlyn Dafler, who worries that lewd photos that may be circulating the Web could be a nightmare for her classmates.
“Today’s society is horrible,” Dafler said. “I just see that they work to hurt each other to make themselves feel better, especially in high school.”
One parent said police are interviewing students who might be in the photos. The school district doesn't yet know how many students may be victims.
Estes said even if the pictures were posted online as a prank, the implications for the suspect could last a very long time.
“It is still considered child porn even if they themselves are minors and then distributing by sharing with other people and sharing on social media, these are felonies,” said Estes. “These charges could dog this kid for the rest of his life.”
Estes also believes the sensitive photos are likely already being traded by pedophiles worldwide.
“Pedophiles will pick this stuff up and download this to websites dedicated to child porn,” she added.
Estes suggested that parents should be using monitoring software on their children's phones and computers to make sure they know exactly what their kids are doing online.
Police are asking for victims to come forward so they can get the support they need.