Four children charged in sexting

STEUBENVILLE – Four pupils have been charged with misdemeanor counts of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile in a case in which a female eighth-grader allegedly sent inappropriate pictures of herself to her boyfriend which were then sent again.

City Police began an investigation about two weeks ago involving pupils at the Bishop John King Mussio Junior High School.

Police reported the girl sent the inappropriate pictures to her boyfriend on a cell phone. The boyfriend then sent the picture to another person who sent it out again on a cell phone.

The Jefferson County Juvenile Court reported the four pupils, including the female allegedly in the picture, will be allowed to go through mediation. If the juveniles successfully complete the mediation program, the charges will be dismissed. If not, the juveniles then will face the judge.

Cell phone transmission of inappropriate pictures played a role in a recently completed case involving two Steubenville High School students.

Trent Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville on March 17 were found delinquent by visiting Judge Tom Lipps of rape in connection with an incident involving an intoxicated underage girl on Aug. 11-12. Mays also was found delinquent of a felony charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for having a picture of the 16-year-old victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone.

The victim in that case was naked when the picture was taken. Investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation found the picture in the outgoing mailbox of Mays’ cell phone.

The outcome of that case spurred two teenagers to make threats on social media against the rape victim. The two 16-year-olds are charged with felony intimidation of a witness and aggravated menacing and telecommunication harassment, both misdemeanors. The girls through their attorneys have denied the charges. The teens are expected to admit to one of the charges during a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday before Juvenile Judge Sam Kerr.