Corporation officials, in conjunction with the Chesterton Police Department,
is investigating an incident in which Chesterton High School students were
discovered to be in possession, on school property, of an “indecent”
photograph of two of their classmates engaged in a sexual act.
That photo was
found on the cell phones of several CHS students, who apparently were
showing it to others at school and in the process causing a ruckus which
initially prompted teachers to intervene.
Superintendent David Pruis declined to discuss the matter this morning,
except to confirm this account of the incident, as the Chesterton Tribune
has pieced it together:
Two CHS students, a
boy and a girl, both younger than 16, were engaged in an intimate act at a
private residence, off school property, in unincorporated Porter County.
Unknown to them, another juvenile, a boy but not a CHS student,
photographed them. It is unclear what exactly happened next or who is
responsible but the photo was then either texted to other parties or
uploaded directly to social media or first texted and then uploaded.
DSC officials knew
nothing about the photograph in question until it was found on the phones of
several CHS students on school property. The officials then began an
investigation and at the same time brought it to the attention of the
Chesterton Police Department, which opened its own investigation.
someone--for reasons best known to him- or herself--contacted Channel 7 News
in Chicago, which is now running a story sourced entirely by CHS students.
meanwhile, has learned this:
* Chesterton Police
Chief Dave Cincoski was planning to meet late this afternoon with DSC
officials and other parties to discuss his department’s interest in the
case: whether the CPD will pursue a charge against students discovered to
have had the photo on their phones or other devices or known to have
distributed it to others. Given the age of the students involved, the photo
could be considered child pornography. Cincoski told the Tribune that
he expects to release a statement on Wednesday morning.
* Porter County
Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel, for his part, confirmed that his office
is “working with the Chesterton PD and will review its investigation when it
is completed and at that time will determine if any criminal charges or
delinquency petitions will be filed.”
* Sgt. Larry
LaFlower of the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said that no one, to his
knowledge, has filed any complaint in connection either with the taking of
the photograph in the first place--which occurred in the unincorporated
Wheeler area--or with the photo’s subsequent electronic dissemination,
wherever in fact that may have happened. Nor, to this point, has any other
law enforcement agency referred the matter to the PCSP, LaFlower said.
The DSC did e-mail
the following statement to CHS parents on Monday:
Corporation strives to maintain a safe and secure environment for its
students. We were recently made aware of a sexting incident involving
students that attend Chesterton High School in an indecent photo that was
taken in a private residence outside school corporation boundaries and
distributed outside of school via text and social media. We are unable to
discuss any specifics due to student privacy and confidentiality issues.
completion of the investigation, a report will be forwarded to juvenile
authorities for their review. We appreciate our parent and community
partners as we continue our efforts to ensure a safe school environment.”
with the case have all emphasized one thing to the Tribune: the CPD
does not release any specific information about the delinquency charges
which it files; and DSC officials, in the interest of students’ privacy, do
not under any circumstances discuss particular disciplinary actions.