Three Oak Park and River Forest High School students arrested after nude photo forwarded

Students charged with distributing harmful material


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Three students at Oak Park and River Forest High School were arrested there Nov. 16 after school officials learned one of them forwarded a nude photo of another one to a cell phone.

Police said a 16-year-old girl who was in the photo and two 17-year-old boys were charged with distributing harmful material. Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said it was not clear who forwarded the photo to whom, but all three had the photo on their phones.

The school was alerted about the incident through a parent of one of the involved students, said school spokeswoman Kay Foran. Reynolds said police believe the photo is two years old, which Foran said would predate the students attending OPRF. But the issue came to light because one of the arrested students recently forwarded the photo again.

Foran said the offense could be punished with a five to 10 day out of school suspension, according to the school code. Any school action would be separate from the criminal charges being pursued.

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Joel Lessing from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 6th, 2011 5:47 PM

Actually, it is not possible to draw ANY conclusions about this case from the article. What does "nude" mean? Pornography usually has to be the frank portrayal of a lewd or sexual act or lascivious pose. If you photograph your baby as it is being born, is that "child porn"? I'm going to presume here that most babies are not born fully clothed! What about a recent case in which some girls were arrested for taking pictures of themselves in their bras? Is the Kmart catalog "child porn"?

Jose from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2011 11:55 AM

The Oak Park Village Board should do what the Chicago Cubs do. To save face after another loosing season they fire senior leaders such as the head coach and those in the front office. We should do the same thing with chief Tanksley and others at the top of the OPPD. Fire these loosers and bring in some real talent, not some looser whose favorite quote is "this is an isolate crime."

The Most Disturbing Part  

Posted: November 22nd, 2011 10:24 AM

Okay, there's a lot of back and forth here. But LORD that girl was in MIDDLE SCHOOL when she was sexting boys. My biggest concern is for the girl, who clearly has/had incredibly low self esteem. And I think the boys are incredibly cruel for continuing to forward on her picture. Parents, PLEASE talk to your sons about treating girls respectfully. My husband did it with our two sons. Lead by example.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 11:20 PM

Sam- I was simply pointing how widespread this issue is and pointing to how seriously it is viewed in many places since several readers didn't see why police involement was necessary. And if the person sending the pictures is over 18 and the photo is of a minor, it IS distribution of child porn even in illinois and possible felony. This could be an issue in the future if an 18 y.o senior is stupid enough to do this again with a picture of his sophmore or Jr. girlfriend.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 10:13 PM

Realitysux, How do the laws in virginia apply to three kids arrested in illinois? Relevant to this conversation....think not


Posted: November 21st, 2011 9:40 PM

Virginia law, June 2011 Other sexting charges in cases involving adults might be misdemeanors, but that is not an option if images of a person under 18 are involved. Those images are considered child pornography, and all child pornography charges are felonies, Perry said, adding that minors as well as adults can have child pornography charges brought against them.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 9:37 PM

Sam, did I say be rquired? No, i said COULD BE, and I disagree as it is state by state whether sexting is treated as child porn when the photo is a minor. OR THIS FOR VIRGINIA In Virginia, laws on obscenity and child pornography might apply, depending on the circumstances.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 8:39 PM

cont'd The law has changed and sexting is the charge, not distribution of porn which would require someone to register as a sex offender.


Posted: November 21st, 2011 8:37 PM

Realitysux, The biggest problem with this comment page is that people get to post here without having any knowledge of what they are talking about. People read these comments and take what people are saying as factual. The law doesn't require these individuals to register as sex offenders for "sexting". Forwarding pictures (explicit) without the consent of the person in the photo is against the law.

Fire Tanksley from Oak Park Police Force  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 11:52 AM

Let's not forget the harassment case...


Posted: November 21st, 2011 10:57 AM

Brian, It seems you didnt have your LUCKY Charms today?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2011 10:38 AM

To Q from OP. Whats wrong w/Tanksley? How about 12`unsolved murders and an unsolved child abduction. Exempt rank officials stating"we are going to get the choker/robber" and then not doing so. Steve Linscott spent 8 yrs. in prison for reporting a dream of murder, the lead detective served in a exempt rank for Tanksley after the case was over turned. 5 out of 6 class 1 offenses do not get cleared by arrest. TJ is correct about leadership.


Posted: November 20th, 2011 5:28 PM

Tom, you are right, I do need to watch more Gilligan's Island. And if you think that those photos only went to three phones, I have an island to sell you.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 20th, 2011 1:35 PM

@ref. If you think I sound like Thurston Howell III, you need to watch more Gilligan's Island. And some of those Polaroids I referred to did feature naked girls in my class. Also, perhaps I missed it, but nowhere in this story does it say anything was posted on the internet -- the photo in question was sent between three cellphones. But thanks, lovey.


Posted: November 20th, 2011 5:42 AM

Tom Scharre, you sound like Thurston Howell III. You do know there is a difference between what you are describing and naked pictures of a girl in your class, right? And the difference between handing things out and sending it via sms/internet? Also, yes to what realitysux says. This is a crime only for kids under 17. I do, however, agree with Christine about the stress in having 18-y-o seniors. Our country has become crazy-punitive and the consequences can be life-changing. It is scary.


Posted: November 20th, 2011 12:04 AM

Good god, don't some of you ever pay attention to the news. There have been several cases in the national news this year about sexting, including cases where the person took their own picture and was still charged with distribution of child porn as they were under 18. They could also be required to register as sex offenders. Until they adjust the law for this behavior, it is the law, whether you like it or not, or think it is overkill. Also, in most cases, the students were expelled


Posted: November 19th, 2011 10:02 PM

@christine. This is kiddy porn. That's why they are getting in trouble at all. If they were 18, it wouldn't be kiddy porn. the parents wouldn't have been able to do anything because they're adults. And to everyone suggesting cellphone regulation: you just sound ridiculous. Its not going to happen. This didn't even happen at school so what would taking a phone during school prove?


Posted: November 19th, 2011 8:49 PM

Christine, I meant it wouldn't be a crime if all of them were 18. I understand the issue if it is drugs, but isn't this a crime simply because the participants are under age? Maybe I am misunderstanding.

Christine P from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 8:25 PM

@ref - It wouldn't be an issue if all were 18; I meant to say, if one kid had been 18, that teenager would be charged as an adult for the same thing and the consequences harsher. The same goes for possession of drugs, etc. Doesn't seem fair, but that's the law. Most students turn 18 during their senior year, starting on September 1st. Some graduate at 17 if they were born in the summer. It is a bit more stressfull being a parent of an 18 year old senior.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 6:50 PM

While I do not believe adults should condone or encourage adult behavior by minors, I do have a slightly different take on this. In the 19th century, so-called "French postcards" were passed around. When I went to school, Polaroids were passed around. I fail to see how the use of a cell phone materially changes what is normal behavior by some minors in the process of becoming adults. And no matter how hysterical or punitive some of us may get over it, it will never stop. It is human. So chill.

mv113 from op  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 5:09 PM

So Q everyone should lose their cellphone because of the actions of three students. Following your logic all drivers should have their DL's suspended if anyone they work with gets a DUI? Moron

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 4:51 PM

Nick Bridge, you are correct. Check out what almost everyone does with their phone. It is a security blanket.

Nick Bridge from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 3:17 PM

Cell phones do not belong in a school anyway. They are a distraction and a potential tool for cheating as well as these other forms of mischief.


Posted: November 19th, 2011 3:06 PM

If they were 18, would it even be an issue, since no underage nudity would be involved? I agree about the problem with kids having cell phones in the locker room, btw. Kids can film stuff, nudity or not, that shouldn't be filmed.

Christine P from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 1:15 PM

Why just the boys? The parents of the girl should also be contacted. Confiscate her cellphone too. According to TribLocal (see below), this time equality prevailed, since all 3 were arrested, including the girl. I am tired of seeing the source (originator) of the photo usually not held responsible for their actions. Thank goodness that none of them were 18; for they would be paying dearly.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 12:06 PM

T.J., interesting you feel that way about the Chief. What is it that you don't like? He has done a terrific job for a lot of years. Where do you think he is lacking now?

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 11:36 AM

yes, an arrest seems extreme. However, our local PD has no leadership qualities so I'm not surprised. They jump at every opportunity to ruin the lives of our local kids. Hey, they get paid big money to enforce the law in the most stringent manner possible. I have zero respect for OPPD. We should fire the chief and work our way down chopping the rest of the pork.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 11:28 AM

Since it was a picture of a minor, all cell phones should be removed from school property for a semester to make it clear that anyone who uses a phone for illegal purposes will not be tolerated. The boy's who did this will surely not be appreciated by the rest of the school when their phones are removed. This will demonstrate to the kids that this is not an action that will be tolerated.

dominique frigo from oak park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 9:40 AM

I hope the parents who discovered the problem thought to go to the parents of the boys before contacting authorities. If we parents could all trust each other a little more, these things wouldn't turn into police action.

Rob from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 9:23 AM

I agree that an arrest seems quite extreme. It fits with the overall police-state environment which the new principal is cultivating. They should focus on creating a math department that isn't a laughing stock among its peers.


Posted: November 19th, 2011 9:13 AM

To my knowledge there is no showering or fully undressing in Dist 97. Not sure entirely about the Middle schools. Seeing how our society is embracing technology, this issue will not be going away any time soon.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 8:40 AM

Sally, do you think cell phones cannot be used this way when kids are off the school grounds? The logical extension of your argument is that minors should not be permitted to have cell phones at all. And what about adults for that matter, who surely use cell phones for all sorts of illegal purposes?

Sally Laurent-Muehleisen from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2011 8:19 AM

...and yet D97 policy is to allow kids to keep their cell phones on their person when they go into the locker rooms to change for gym. Yes, the phones have to be turned off and, yes, they have to be out of sight and yes, this incident was at the High School (although the picture was taken when the kids were younger), but isn't the D97 cell phone policy just an incident like this waiting to happen?


Posted: November 19th, 2011 2:17 AM

According to school and police officials, the photo was believed to have been originally taken and electronically sent from the girl to one of the boys two years ago. That photo was recently forwarded by that boy to another, according to police. A parent learned about the incident and contacted school officials, police said. Police investigated the matter and charged all three with distributing harmful materials of a minor, a misdemeanor. The teenage girl being charged is the girl in the photo,

Parent from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 10:34 PM

@John-it falls under the description of distributing child pornography, which is a criminal act.

john murtagh  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 8:22 PM

I get the suspension but am baffled by the arrest. Seems to be overkill.

Jon from River Forest  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 8:08 PM

Q, the subject of the photo is obviously a person who was "involved." The photo was taken "prior to the people involved being students at OPRF." I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that someone who had not yet attended OPRF was younger than 18.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 6:18 PM

I'm guessing Devin, that you didn't ask if the picture was of another student or if it was a picture of someone 18 years or older. Why is the picture considered harmful material?

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