Star Tribune – It started as a game among teens in the halls of Century Middle School: Boys snapped photos of girls’ butts and forwarded them to their classmates. Then the mischief moved to the locker room of the Lakeville school, where two girls were unknowingly photographed while partially undressed and the images spread rapidly from cellphone to cellphone. It came to an end Tuesday with criminal charges against four teenagers. “It started out as a game and quickly and unfortunately crossed a significant invasion-of-privacy line,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “This isn’t funny. It’s not a game to be doing this sort of activity, and it needs to stop.” He outlined the May incidents on Tuesday when he announced charges against a 14-year-old boy, a 13-year-old boy and two 14-year-old girls. The gross-misdemeanor charges include conspiracy to commit interference with privacy, interference with privacy and criminal defamation.
The news release from Backstrom’s office offered the following version of events: The two boys began taking photos of girls’ buttocks in the hallway and then forwarding them to other students. Then, each boy paid $5 to one of the girls who was later charged, and one of them gave her a can of soda, to take the inappropriate photograph and a video in the locker room. The second girl who was charged took one photograph at the urging of the other girl who was charged. The images show the two girls’ lower bodies from the back, partially undressed. After school officials learned of the incident, they suspended 16 students for violations of the school harassment policy, the district confirmed Tuesday.