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Police investigated sexting case at Prairie Ridge

CRYSTAL LAKE - Authorities have investigated allegations that male students from Prairie Ridge High School electronically sent provocative photos of female students to friends, according to the Crystal Lake Police Department.

Four female and six male juveniles were involved in the sexting incident, according to Police Chief Dave Linder.

The girls sent sexually compromising photos by cell phone to the boys, Linder said. The boys later passed the photos along to friends through the Internet and text messaging.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney's Office chose not to pursue charges against the juveniles, Linder said.  The incident has been turned over to Crystal Lake High School District 155 administrators for further disciplinary action.

A study performed by the Associated Press and MTV in 2009 found that three in 10 people between the ages 14 and 24 report having been involved in some type of text messaging involving nude photographs, and almost half of sexually active young people report being involved in sexting.

Almost one in five sext recipients reported that they have passed the images along to someone else, the study said. More than half of those who passed the images to someone else say they shared them with more than one person.

Sexting legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in April 2010 lessened the punishment for minors and made it so violators under age 18 could face supervision, community service and counseling as sentencing options.

Before the new act, minors faced stricter criminal charges and could have been deemed sexual predators and ordered to register as sex offenders.

This move lessens the legal burden for offenders, but after the public humiliation that often accompanies the exposure of suggestive messages and photographs, offended parties might continue to suffer, according to experts quoted in a 2011 Northwest Herald article.

Officials from District 155 could not immediately be reached for comment.

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