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Roosevelt City Police investigating high school sexting case

ROOSEVELT, Utah – A sexting case between a group of high school students is currently being investigated by police in Roosevelt.

According to Lee Nichole Marett with Roosevelt City, the sexting case involves a group of students from Union High School.

The case was first brought to the attention of authorities in May, Marett said.

No charges have been filed in the case, and officers were awaiting “evaluation of evidence” from the state crime lab.

“Because this is an active investigation involving minors, no further information can be released at present,” Marett wrote. “Additional information will be made public as it becomes available.”

Roosevelt City released the following information and advice for parents on talking with their children about sexting:

“Sexting, even between two minors, is considered illegal under Utah’s child pornography laws. Minors caught sexting can receive charges. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about sexting, or using a smartphone to send and receive explicit content. The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided the following tips for talking to youth about sexting.

1. Discuss sexting with your children, even if you believe the issue hasn’t directly impacted them. Begin by gauging what they understand sexting to be. Use questions like “Have you heard of sexting? What do you think it is?”

2. Use age-appropriate examples. For young children who may not yet know about sex, explain that messages should not contain pictures of people without their clothes on, kissing or touching in ways they’ve never seen. For older teens, be more specific. Emphasize that sexting often involves pictures of a sexual nature and is considered pornography.

3. Make sure that children of any age understand that sexting is serious and is considered a crime in many jurisdictions. Consequences can involve criminal charges, suspension from school, and more. Emphasize that digital files sent over the internet exist in some form forever, and can easily be shared without the sender’s permission or control.

4. Monitor news headlines about sexting to provide examples for your children of the potential serious consequences. Discuss ways they can respond if asked to participate in inappropriate messaging.

More resources for parents are available online at http://www.aap.org.

Teens involved in sexting may sometimes feel threatened, pressured, or coerced into exchanging messages that make them uncomfortable. Many times, they feel they cannot talk to a parent. University of Utah Healthcare has developed an app specifically to help teenagers who may be in crisis or struggling with a personal situation that has gotten out of control.

The SafeUT app is available for free on any Apple or Android device. It provides confidential access to trained counselors at any time of the day or night on any day of the year. Youth can call a CrisisLine to speak to a counselor directly, or open up a confidential chat window with a trained counselor. The app can also be used by teens who want to submit tips about friends or acquaintances that they feel might need help or guidance.

There are numerous resources to help youth and parents discuss and deal with the consequences of sexting. It is important to be educated on the dangers and potential legal charges associated with participating in sexting.”