Order Reprint of this Story February 22, The site identifies them as Cypress Bay students — and in some cases, lists their names. It was taken offline late Monday. Our journalism takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to produce. If you read and enjoy our journalism, please consider subscribing today. The Internet photos went viral, with the link shared rapidly via Twitter.
It all amounted to a very public humiliation for this group of girls, who are primarily freshmen. One of the photographed girls was spotted openly weeping at school; another abruptly walked out of class after an onslaught of stares and whispers. Benjoseph said parents and schools can do a better job of teaching children and teens how to protect themselves online.
Celebrities such as actress Vanessa Hudgens have watched in horror as leaked naked photos go viral on the Internet. At Cypress Bay, the photo fallout may linger for years. They will feel that this is not something that they can tolerate and live with … unless they have incredibly strong support. Janet Johnson, a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, said adults who tweeted the photos or even forwarded the website link could wind up facing longer jail time than the teens who actually posted the pictures online.
Those teenagers, while still potentially facing the charge of disseminating child porn, would likely be tried in a more lenient juvenile court proceeding. For adults convicted of spreading the images, a couple of years of prison time is a real possibility, Johnson said, even for first-time offenders. That conviction would also carry the label of being a registered sex offender. When it comes to academics, Cypress Bay has a stellar reputation, and the school enjoyed the rare honor of a commencement speech delivered by Vice President Joe Biden last year.
But in only a decade or so of existence, Cypress Bay has had multiple sex scandals. In , police discovered a year-old student using his smartphone to snap photos of girls while they were using the school restroom. Last year, police investigated a social studies teacher and wrestling coach who was accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student. The student confirmed the romantic relationship, but said it was consensual, and she was 18 when it happened. Police did not file any criminal charges in that case.