STORM LAKE, Iowa -- Seven students in the Storm Lake School District face criminal charges for sharing phone text messages containing nude photos.
The arrests were announced in a Tuesday by the Storm Lake Police Department. Those arrested were not named, because they are minors. All of the juveniles were released to their parents, and await juvenile court dates.
Assistant Chief Chris Cole said the investigation began Feb. 6, when police took a report at Storm Lake High School that multiple students had been sending nude photographs via text messages to other students.
Authorities arrested six Storm Lake High School and one Storm Lake Middle School student. Cole said what initially looked like an isolated allegation, after interviews with people, expanded into several students found to be involved in disseminating obscene photos, also known as sexting.
After seizing several cell phones, Cole said nine minors were involved in 15 incidents where photos were allegedly shared or sent to juveniles in Storm Lake, in nearby Schaller, Lakeside and Sheldon and as far away as Graham, Washington.
Three teens face felony charges -- a 15-year-old boy from Sheldon who was charged with two counts of Exploitation of a Minor, a 15-year-old boy from Storm Lake who was cited with three counts of Exploitation of a Minor, and a 17-year-old boy from Storm Lake was charged with two counts of Exploitation of a Minor.
The four people arrested on serious misdemeanor charges of Dissemination of Obscene Material to a Minor included a 13-year-old girl from Storm Lake, a 15-year-old girl from Lakeside, a 16-year-old girl from Schaller, and a 17-year-old girl from Lakeside.