PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some Long Island parents have issued a warning, after naked pictures of high school students were posted online without their permission.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the anonymous website where the photos appeared encourages teenagers to post.
“You’re a little aghast, kind of like, ‘Oh my God,’” said Cliff Pfleger of Port Jefferson, a Ward Melville High School parent. “You do a double take.”
Pfleger found an image of his teenage daughter in a bikini on the pornographic photo sharing website.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Thank God she’s wearing clothes,’” he said.
The bikini selfie of Pfleger’s 16-year-old was amid thousands of pornographic images of young girls — posted anonymously without their permission.
Pfleger also recognized other local teens on the site – and they were naked. The website is catalogued by state and high school.
“Here you are viewing somebody that, ‘Oh my God, I know this poor girl,’” Pfleger said. “Who’s going to tell their parents?”
Suffolk County Police Computer Crimes Unit detectives have launched an investigation.
“We find that a lot of these images are selfies,” said Computer Crimes Unit Detective Sgt. John Best.
Police are well aware of the website, which is based in Eastern Europe and was also behind the hacking incident in which nude photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence were leaked.
But police can only prosecute clear cases of child pornography. They warned that snapping a compromising picture and sharing it can result in it being distributed.
“They lose control over how it’s disseminated after that point,” Best said. “You know, your boyfriend may not be your boyfriend a year from now.”
Teens said they know private pictures can end up very public.
“The police come in and, like, talk to us since middle school to, like, tell us, ‘Be careful,’” one girl said.
“But there still is, stories in our school where, like, girls get their pictures out,” another said.
The photo sharing site has become local high school sport – a form of cyber-bullying, Gusoff reported. Parents said it is a wake-up call.
“They’re looking, and they’re taking their daughters phones, and they’re searching now more than ever were,” Pfleger said. “I guess it really is a big eye opener.”
And minors are advised that sharing obscene selfies is a crime. The group Parents for Megan’s Law warns underage sexting can get kids in trouble with the law.
Pfleger emailed the site administrator, who took down his daughter’s photo. But police said the administrators know how to avoid arrest.
Police said they have tracked the website to the Ukraine, Mexico, and San Francisco.