Two BHS students arrested for distribution of child pornography

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BURRILLVILLE – Two students from Burrillville High School were arrested on Tuesday, June 15 after allegedly sharing an obscene video of a female victim both on social media, and with other students at the school.

The suspects, ages 14 and 15, are facing charges of possession of child pornography and delivery of child pornography following an investigation by Burrillville police.

Officers were reportedly called to the school on April 9, after an anonymous student told the school psychiatrist that two freshman students were showing explicit videos of another, underage student.

“The two students were brought down to the principal’s office, where they quickly blamed one another of not only showing the video to their classmates, but disseminating the content originally through social media platforms,” noted a summary of the incident from the detective unit.

After speaking with both students and their parents, police determined that both students were in possession of the video, as well as other nude photos of the same victim, which they were sharing via Snapchat.

The images were originally shared by the victim’s former friend, who had access to her the login information for one of her social media accounts, according to the report.

As part of the investigation, police obtained consent to search three cellphones belonging to the involved participants, which were given to the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit. State police conducted an off-site forensic analysis and search of the phones.

The juvenile victim’s cellphone, meanwhile, had been factory reset prior to seizure and was not able to be analyzed, according to police.

Both suspects were referred to Rhode Island Family Court.

The sharing of obscene images of students has been an issue at the high school in the past. In 2020, police identified 18 victims before charging a 19-year-old man with 16 counts of indecent solicitation of a child and ten counts of electronically disseminating indecent material to minors. The man was one of five students arrested over charges related to cyber-harassment, child pornography and dissemination of materials.

In 2017, police discovered pornographic pictures of more than 100 teenage girls from town – going back for more than a decade – that had been saved and shared among a generation of Burrillville boys, used like trading cards and kept in private Dropbox files.

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