Police investigating report of sexting at suburban Philadelphia high school

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Friday, November 20, 2015
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Police are investigating after the mother of a female student discovered inappropriate images on her daughter's cell phone, officials say.

WHITEMARSH TWP., Pa. -- Police are investigating after the mother of a Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School female student discovered inappropriate images on her daughter's cell phone, officials announced on Thursday.

The mother revealed her findings to high school officials on Wednesday who, after investigating, brought in police to try to determine the extent, if any, the images may have been distributed.

"That there was a Dropbox that was created that indeed there were pictures of some female students in there and she asked that we investigate," said Colonial District Superintendent Dr. Maryellen Gorodetzer.

Investigators said there were nude photos and video clips of current and former students at the high school being circulated in a Dropbox account a student had created.

The school district superintendent sent a letter to the school board and staff members at the high school about the issue.

"It's incredibly distressing that there are so many of these type of incidents," said Gorodetzer.

Both parents and other students were outraged upon learning about the situation.

"Obviously the people that were victims, I mean, it's a terrible thing that happened," said parent Shawn Houston.

"It really has an effect on these girls, and some of them are my friends and I know some of them, and they are really upset about it and I'm really upset about it" said senior Grace McGuire. "It's just not right."

Police said the Dropbox account has been shut down at the request of law enforcement. They are seeking subpoenas and search warrants to learn who was involved.

"I know it's not their fault that their pictures got out there, but these guys should realize that it's not right to pass it around school to other guys," said McGuire. "It's disrespectful to girls, and I just don't agree with it."

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office was scheduled to come and speak to students and staff members on Dec. 3 and 7 at the high school about sexting and inappropriate use of social media.

"You may think your friends are doing it and that, you know, it's OK, it's acceptable, but this will follow you forever, and has very serious consequences and safety consequences if it gets in the wrong person's hands," said Gorodetzer.

Police said the investigation is in its early stages, and, so far, there have not been any arrests or disciplinary action.

District officials said they are fully cooperating with the police.