NEW PORT RICHEY — A detective described it as a teenage crush gone wrong and an object lesson for other text-messaging teens and their parents.
A 14-year-old boy, in an online conversation, asked his 13-year-old girlfriend for nude photos of herself and she complied, sending them through a cellphone application called Kik Messenger.
A day later, he asked for more photos, but this time she refused. The boy became angry and posted the photos on his Facebook page, tagging the girl’s name on them so all her friends and family members, including her mother, could see, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The mother contacted the sheriff’s office and the boy, a Chasco Middle student, was arrested last week on a charge of transmission of child pornography.
“This kid was very vindictive,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “This kid was trying to ruin this little girl’s life.”
Detective William Lindsey said the boy showed no remorse when questioned.
“When I interviewed the juvenile he was very unconcerned and uncaring,” Lindsey said. “And to be quite frank, so were his parents. They were more concerned with the fact that their son had been sent the pictures than the fact he had posted the images on a publicly available website.”
Nocco and Lindsey said anyone who views or transmits nude photos of someone younger than 18 could be charged with a felony, either possession of child pornography or transmission of child pornography. Lindsey said as part of his job he tries to educate parents and young people about the possible repercussions, and prefers not to arrest a young person over a teenage mistake.
“I do my best not to criminally charge a young kid with a felony of transmission of child pornography,” Lindsey said.
In this case, the boy went so far, essentially extorting the girl in an effort to get more photos, that there was no choice, he said.
The Kik application has become a popular way for teens to communicate because it can be downloaded free and allows them to send text messages on not just cellphones, but other electronic devices, Lindsey said.
He said he is investigating more cases right now, all that involve the use of the Kik application.
Kik is part of a company based in Canada, not the United States, making it more difficult for law enforcement to obtain computer records, Lindsey said. In the United States, federal law requires companies to turn over records under certain circumstances.
“This is not an attack on Kik,” Lindsey said. “Kik just happens to be the flavor of the month. Kik is just the current app they happen to be using.”