Lawyers: Teen treated unfairly after nude images shared

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2016 6:59 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia high school senior says she was victimized twice — first when her ex-boyfriend shared nude images of her via social media and again when she was arrested for throwing water and cursing at him.

The 18-year-old student was shocked when a friend told her April 1 that a nude video and photos of her had been shared on the smartphone messaging app Kik. Male classmates at Newnan High School also shared images of other female students, she says.

Angry and embarrassed, the teen confronted her ex-boyfriend, who she said shared the video and photos of her. She cursed at him and threw water on him, she said. A teacher saw her outburst and took her to the principal's office.

It was the day before spring break, and she was suspended for the first day back after the break, which was Monday. She was told to come in with her parents the following day.

Several police officers were at the meeting Tuesday. After a brief conversation, she shook and cried as an officer told her to stand up and put handcuffs on her, she said.

She was charged with disruption of a public school, according to a police report. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, said her attorney Gerald Griggs.

"We fully believe she was defending herself and defending her honor that had been violated by these gentlemen," Griggs said. "I don't think the school system or the police department handled this the appropriate way."

The Associated Press does not generally publish the names of alleged victims of sexual crimes.

Newnan police Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs said the charge was appropriate because a large group of students gathered around when she confronted her ex.

"It took a number of faculty and staff to regain order and get people moving along to their classes, so there was a disruption to the school," Riggs said.

The girl has also been kicked out for the rest of the school year and it's not clear whether she'll be allowed to graduate, said another attorney Chris Stewart. Their immediate goal is to get the school to drop the charge and to allow her to finish the school year, Stewart said.

"This ruins her life because what if she can't get into college because of this charge," Stewart said. "It's just unfair."

Dean Jackson, a spokesman for the Coweta County School System, said the law prevents him from commenting on any matter that involves student discipline.

The police report says the teen walked up to her ex in the center of campus, threatened to kill him and threw a water bottle at him.

The girl told an officer she had sent the photos to her ex and that he had made the video about a month earlier when they were dating.

The male teen confirmed what she said about the photo and videos. He told the officer he was talking about spring break with friends in an online chat when he posted the video and photos. The male student showed the officer the chat, but before the officer could get more information, the person who started the chat "shut it down and all information was lost," the police report says.

Riggs said the department is still investigating whether any laws were broken by anyone who shared the nude images.