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6 teens alleged to have shared intimate images without consent

By Arthur Weinreb     Jul 9, 2016 in Crime
Bridgewater - It is one of the first times in Canada that someone has been charged under a new law that makes it an offence to distribute intimate sexual or nude pictures of another person without that person's consent.
After a 13-month investigation, police in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia announced the arrest of six male teens. Four of the teens are 15 years old while the other two are 18. As all were under the age of 18 years when the alleged offences were committed, their identities cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
It is alleged there are 20 victims, all underage girls. Each teen faces charges of distributing intimate sexual pictures without consent and distributing child pornography. The law prohibiting the distribution of intimate pictures without consent came into force in March 2015 and was part of new anti-cyberbullying laws introduced after the death of a 17-year-old girl in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She took her own life after an intimate picture of her was circulated on the Internet.
Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in April 2013 and was taken off life support three days later. According to her mother, she was raped by four boys at a party in November 2011 and a picture was circulated on the Internet of the sexual act (rape was never proved). The teen became depressed after she was bullied, shunned, called a slut, and numerous boys texted her asking for sex.
Eventually two boys were charged with distribution of child pornography but Parsons' death served as the impetus for the new law that applies to adult victims as well as minors.
On Friday, John Collyer, Bridgewater's police chief said it is believed all 20 girls attended Bridgewater High School as did the teen boys although some of the victims have not yet been identified. The chief said there was no evidence any of the alleged illegal activity took place in the school.
It is believed all the girls consented to having these intimate pictures taken but did not agree to have them distributed on the Internet.
The investigation began over a year ago when Bridgewater police were contacted by school officials. At first they thought a small number of victims were involved but after cellphones that were seized were handed over to the RCMP, many more pictures were found.
The FBI also became involved in the investigation. CBC reports the FBI served a warrant on Dropbox, the American file-sharing service that authorities say the boys used to distribute the pictures.
Collyer said a conversation with young people is needed to make them aware that anything put on the Internet stays there and can have devastating results.
The six teens are due to appear in a Bridgewater courtroom next month.
More about sharing intimate images without consent, Child pornography, Dropbox, rehtaeh parsons
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