2017-07-19

‘Pushy’, ‘nagging’ boys pressured girls for ‘nudes’

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Six Bridgewater area teenage boys known as the Dropbox Six face sentencing this month for distributing intimate pictures online without the girls&#8217; permission.</p>

Local girls, some as young as 13, were pressured to - and later regretted transmitting - images of their fully and partially nude bodies to six Bridgewater area teenage boys known as the Dropbox Six . The latter face sentencing this month for distributing intimate pictures online without the girls' permission.

A girl, who had a crush on one of the boys, refused his request for "nudes," but recanted and sent one because "she worried that he would not like her any more," reads a court-filed statement of fact. "She thought she could trust him with the photo, but regretted it after she sent it."

Another girl kept refusing another boy's plea for "inappropriate" photos of herself but "eventually gave in to the requests ..."

These specific females were 13 at the time.

Other girls described one of the boys as "bothering" her about images or being "pushy."

"She was concerned that if she did not send photos he would not like her," the statement reads. "She believed that she could trust him to keep the photo private."

Another girl, 15 or 16 years old at the time, believed that if she sent pictures to the same "nagging" boy in question "he would be satisfied and stop asking," the statement reads.

Four of the Lunenburg County boys are now 16 years old. The other two are each 19 years old. None of them can be named because they were all under 18 at the time of the criminal allegations.

They've all since admitted to a charge of distributing an intimate image without consent, a relatively new criminal code offence established to combat online harassment. Charges of possessing and distributing child pornography are expected to be dropped at sentencing July 31.

More than 20 girls were identified as having their intimate images shared without consent and distributed online. A pair of password-protected accounts via the file-sharing service Dropbox were created with one containing up to 60 nude or suggestive images and the other having up to 15 pictures, most of which were identical to the other account.

The police investigation started in May 2015 as a result of a complaint from school administration at Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School.

One of the boys told a girl, who was 14 at the time, that sending photos of the breasts and vaginal area were "no big deal." That female sent at least eight pictures to him via the mobile picture-and-video app Snapchat, the main method many of the girls used to distribute the photos.

Another female was "motivated to send photos as she felt she was competing with [another girl] for the favour of [one of the boys]."

One of the males was refused "several times" by another girl whom he asked for pictures. One day at school, the boy "and his friends were clustered near her locker and gave her the impression that they were talking about her," the statement of facts indicated.

She ended up sending him several images over the course of a night or two. "She felt horrible when sent them, but felt that if she did not he would spread some rumour about her at school or confront her about it. She felt guilty and awful after it."

Some images displayed full or partial faces. File names included the girl's name and/or specific body part shown. Pictures contained images of breasts, vaginal and anal areas.

The boys were part of a private Facebook chat group and talk of intimate photographs of female students became a topic of discussion. "Many members of the group acknowledged possessing such photos and members were interested in exchanging them," the statement reads.

Two of the boys created one Dropbox account, which was associated with an email address belonging to one of them.

"Once it was created, it was announced on their Facebook groupchat and the username and password was distributed to the members of the group."

All the images - plus the account - were deleted in April 2015 "once it became clear to them that others knew about the Dropbox account including ... school officials and female students."

A second Dropbox account was created by two of the boys associated to the email address theboys@aredope.com. The photos and account were also deleted in April 2015.

Sixteen electronic devices were seized during the course of the investigation, including Apple iPads and iPhones.

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