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Sexting case left up to D-155

CRYSTAL LAKE – A case of “sexting” in which Prairie Ridge High School boys shared provocative photos of female students has been turned over to the District 155 administrators for disciplinary action, authorities said.

The girls sent sexually compromising photos by cellphone to the boys, who later passed along the photos to friends through the Internet and phone messaging, Crystal Lake Police Chief Dave Linder said.

Four girls and six boys were involved in the sexting. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office chose not to pursue charges against the juveniles, Linder said.

Crystal Lake High School District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma said state law on student records prevents him from revealing whether disciplinary measures have been taken against any of students.

He did say the school assisted with the police investigation and that it is providing counseling to the students involved.

The Prairie Ridge student handbook forbids sexting, as well as possessing lewd material on any electronic device on school grounds.

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

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

Legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in April 2010 lessened the punishment for minors involved in sexting. Violators under age 18 may face supervision, community service and counseling if convicted. Before the legislation, minors convicted of sexting could be deemed sexual predators and ordered to register as sex offenders.

Even after prosecution, those humiliated by suggestive messages and photographs may continue to suffer, according to experts quoted in 2011 Northwest Herald article.

• Senior Reporter Kevin Craver contributed to this story.

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