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Tipsheet

Florida High School Coach Paid Teen Girls for Nude Photos on Snapchat, Sheriff Says

A high school basketball coach and campus monitor in Martin County, Florida, was arrested for allegedly paying underage girls to send him nude photos on Snapchat.

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Alton Edwards, 28, was allegedly paying the underage girls between $10 and $75 to send him the photos after targeting them over social media, according to West Palm Beach-based outlet WPTV. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office reportedly got an anonymous tip about Edwards and spoke with seven teenagers who claim they sent him explicit photos.

According to WPTV’s report, “most” of the young girls Edwards solicited were about 15 or 16 years old. 

"It looks like his major (modus operandi) would be to find the girls on Snapchat, take a look at their friends and then just start probing," Sheriff William Snyder told the outlet. "Really, it's grooming. He finds a child who might be more vulnerable, and he gets them to send pictures of them unclothed and sends them cash."

On Snapchat, images disappear after they are viewed by the person who receives them. The Sheriff reportedly said his office would work with the platform to recover the photos. And investigators have victim statements and proof of transactions.

"Our theory is that he probably [took a] screenshot, saved some of those pictures, and that when we serve the search warrant, we will find them on his camera," Snyder said, adding that it appeared to be a “known secret” among students for years, but no one spoke up.

“Go to your child tonight and say, ‘I want to look in your camera and look at every single app that can hide pictures,'” Snyder added. “If your children have Snapchat, go home tonight and delete it.”

Edwards was put on administrative leave before resigning, CBS12 noted. The school district sent a message to parents explaining that Edwards was removed from campus once they received word of the anonymous tip.

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Earlier this week, the Martin County School District and Martin County Sheriff’s Office were made aware of a very serious and concerning allegation about a Martin County High School security guard who also served as an assistant athletics coach. Immediately upon receipt of this anonymous tip, the employee in question was removed from campus and all duties that would allow him any contact with students. Both agencies immediately began their respective investigations. 

This morning, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office arrested this employee and charged him with seven (7) counts of online solicitation of a minor. While MCSO does not believe that there is cause for safety-related concern on the part of the majority of families, those who believe their child may have had inappropriate, illegal contact or been exposed to inappropriate, illegal requests for photos/videos from this individual are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 772-220-7000. This employee will not be permitted to return to any duties that would allow him contact with students while the District’s due process procedures continue.

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