No charges after kids shared nude pictures in Canon City sexting scandal

CANON CITY, Colo. - No criminal charges will be filed in a sexting scandal involving hundreds of students in Cañon City.

In November, officials announced that hundreds of Cañon City Middle School and High School students were under investigation for taking and sharing nude photos.

"It has come to the attention of the Cañon City School District that a number of our students have engaged in behavior where they take and pass along pictures of themselves that expose private parts of their bodies or their undergarments,” a statement from the school district said.

“The scope is large," Principal Bret Meuli said at the time. "We are not talking about a few students trading pictures back and forth."

District Attorney Thom LeDoux announced Wednesday that "the District Attorney's Office of the 11th Judicial District has determined it will not file any criminal charges."

"The resulting investigation did not identify any of the potential aggravating factors such as the involvement of adults, the posting of images to the internet, coercion or bullying, allegations of unlawful sexual contact and/or retribution or retaliation," LeDoux said. 

The decision not to charge the students involved in the scandal, "does not condone or excuse the behavior of the individuals involved," LeDoux added. 

LeDoux said the investigation into the sexting scandal found 106 children named in some capacity. Police seized three cell phones and found 351 images that were questionable in nature.

"The vast majority of photographs that were flagged didn't include the face of the subject on the photograph," LeDoux said. However, he said detectives were able to identify three of the subjects. He said another six children who agreed to be interviewed admitted to sending photos.

LeDoux said while criminal charges are not being filed, the school district may take additional administration action "they deem appropriate."

In addition, parents should "fulfill the their responsibility to make sure their children are not engaging in these behaviors," LeDoux also remarked. 

"I do think they needed to have consequences, they needed to know that if you break the law, if you break the rules, you have to pay," said parent Barbara Penezic, whose daughter attended Cañon City High School last year. 

Last month, the school district forfeited a football game over the scandal.

"I think the solution to the problem is education, it's good quality parenting and it's information about yeah know decisions we make today how they might affect us tomorrow," said Superintendent George Welsh. 

Police said students were taking photos on an app called Photo Vault. What parents need to know about Photo Vault and similar apps.

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