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Authorities investigate cases of sexting, distribution of child porn among Johnson County teens

FRANKLIN, Ind. - Administrators at one high school in Johnson County are working with parents to help stop sexting in local schools. Officials say the cyber-crime is becoming a growing and dangerous problem.

In just the past few months, the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office reports up to two dozen sexting cases involving teens. Many of those teens now face felony charges for distribution of child pornography.

“The boyfriend receives it from his girlfriend and forwards it on to his friends. At that point, it escalates to a felony level and the kids just do not realize it,” said Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Alex Hamner.

The teen that takes the photo faces a misdemeanor charge. Prosecutors say they handle the charges case by case. The probation department also offers counseling but some still reoffend.

“It is really an issue for the schools that we have to deal with and we are trying to educate parents on how to help prevent this,” said Franklin Community Schools Director of Operations Bill Doty.

Doty and other administrators along with police and prosecutors are working with parents to stop the sexting issue before it gets any worse. Franklin Community High School launched a cyber-security and safety forum to discuss warning signs and the charges related to sexting.

“With all of the social media apps out there like snap chat, you send a picture and it gets deleted…or so our students think. Once it is out there on the internet…it is out there forever,” said Doty.

The Johnson County Prosecutors Office continues to work with other schools in the area to develop similar programs.