20 Teens Charged In Sexting 'Trading Card' Probe at New Jersey Schools

Illustration for article titled 20 Teens Charged In Sexting 'Trading Card' Probe at New Jersey Schools

20 male students at New Jersey high and middle schools have been charged with invasion of privacy after police discovered that the teens (and one 18-year-old who’s been charged as an adult) have been passing around naked pictures of female students, using the photos as a trading card game which at least one parent says the girls were into.

The investigation was launched in April after a student told officials that the boys in her class were passing around a nude picture of her friend around. 6ABC reports that none of the young men have yet been arrested for swapping photos of naked underaged girls, but that their parents have all retained attorneys and are cooperating with authorities.


While only one of the teens faces jail time, parents are worried that their children’s futures may be ruined. At least one mother wants the blame to be placed squarely at the feet of the girls who sent nude photos. The mother, who spoke to 6ABC on the condition of anonymity, said that the girls who sent out nude pictures should have known what would happen to them and that if the boys are getting arrested, the girls should be charged equally.

“The girls know that the boys trade them and it’s kind of a game that the girls want to be involved in,” the parent said. She’s not defending her 14-year-old son’s alleged actions, but says it was several girls who shared the photos. No females have been charged.”They need to step back and really take a full look at this. The girls are just as responsible as the boys,” the parent said.

Was it a potentially reckless move to send nudes to teenage boys? Yes. Does that mean the girls should be blamed and be seen as the masterminds behind this game because the nude pictures are of them? Absolutely not. If even one girl (and it sounds like there’s at least one) wasn’t into having her pictures shared with everybody who participated in the “game,” then it’s a violation of her privacy.


The schools and local police department are taking this investigation seriously. While schools can’t monitor phone usage outside of school, they are suggesting that parents check their kids’ phones to make sure that their teens aren’t doing anything unsafe. My mom used to check my backpack during high school; this advice is just a new-fangled version of that.

If convicted of invasion of privacy, the adult student faces the possibility of three to five years in prison and the juveniles face the possibility of being sent to training school for up to two years. Commenters at 6ABC are outraged that the girls involved have not yet been charged with creating and distributing child pornography with their pornographic child bodies.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

Image via 6ABC

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We did the same thing when I was young. Of course for us that meant racy scrimshaw cameos, at least until the daguerreotype became available.