Yesterday, the Toronto Police Service issued a media release
[PDF] to inform the public of the arrest. The boy began an online relationship with a girl who provided him with lewd pictures of herself. The teen then threatened to distribute these photos unless the girl provided him with a sexually explicit video. She refused.
According to police, the boy, who was under the age of 18 years and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, hacked into the girl's email account and sent the pictures to everyone on her contact list.
The youth has been charged with making, possessing, and distributing child pornography, extortion, and threatening death.
The girl does not live in Toronto and Toronto police were informed of the incident by an outside police agency. Police are not disclosing the girl's location to help protect her identity. The investigation took a few months to complete.
The announcement of the charges comes eight days after the death of 15-year-old Amanda Todd. As Digital Journal
reported, Amanda killed herself after enduring two years of bullying, cyberbullying, and extortion attempts that centered around her flashing her breasts on a webcam when she was 12. Her death came five weeks after she posted a video on YouTube explaining what she had gone through.
Toronto Det. Const. Dayna Boyko said that with the increasing use of technology, police are seeing more and more of these cases. Boyko is quoted in the National Post
as saying, "For each of our sexting cases, we take a look on a case-by-case basis. We take a look at both sides, and it's sometimes more of an education [to the teens] on the legal implications. In this particular case, we saw it was serious enough that we had to charge."
Boyko told the Toronto Star
that this arrest and the death of Amanda are opportunities to remind parents to teach their children about safety. She said, "We're finding that quite often parents will buy children cellphones and laptops but won't take the time to talk about Internet safety."
Const. Wendy Drummond is quoted in the Toronto Sun
as saying young people should consider "How are you going to feel about it if these pictures show up 10 or 15 years from now?" And teens should keep in mind that simple possession of sexually explicit photographs or videos of young people can lead to criminal charges.
Toronto police are reminding the public to contact police if they have any information about the online sexual exploitation of children.