Five boys enrolled in USD 378 schools are suspected of posting pornographic images of at least 10 area girls online.
Officer Matthew Droge, public information officer for the Riley County Police Department, said the boys range in age from middle to high school. He said they are suspected of having posted the photos to a website over the course of recent months.
Ten female juveniles have been identified as victims, but Droge said that number could change as the investigation continues.
The police report, which was filed late Monday morning, includes a slew of potential charges, including sexual exploitation of a child, aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, electronic solicitation, promoting pornography of a minor, breach of privacy and conspiracy.
Droge said the photos were posted after being obtained by the boys, but he did not specify whether they were obtained consensually or not.
Droge said the case is under investigation and the charges are subject to change.
While police know the identities of the suspects, Droge said, none have been detained at this point.
Brad Starnes, superintendent of USD 378, said the alleged incidents did not happen on school ground, on school equipment or during school time.
Starnes said electronic devices and cell phones have been banned from school grounds and explained the decision in a May 7 email to parents, telling them information on the investigation will be released on a need-to-know basis.
“These incidences under investigation have created a disruption to our schools, hindering our ability to provide these educational opportunities,” Starnes wrote, adding “Any student who creates a disruption to the educational opportunities of other students will have disciplinary consequences.”
In a subsequent email to parents, Starnes wrote that the ban is being considered as a permanent policy for the upcoming school year. He wrote that after an investigation, it was determined that no school equipment was used in posting the photos and that nothing was found on school networks in regard to the incidents that perpetrated the “ban”.
He said the district will consider disciplinary actions against the suspects if charges are brought against them. He added, however, that they will not act on allegations.