30 Instagram accounts under investigation in nude photo scandal

SBI says it is investigating dozens of Instagram accounts linked to the probe that began in Wake County.
February 27, 2014 6:10:21 PM PST
The SBI says it is investigating dozens of Instagram accounts linked to the probe that began earlier this month in Wake County.

The SBI says a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the state have now started their own investigations.

"They were laughing about it. I got really upset. I started crying my eyes out. I didn't want to go to school, I just wanted to quit. I don't know, it broke my heart," said 17-year-old Kelsey Roberts.

Roberts is learning a tough lesson in a very public way. A topless picture of the Davidson County student recently surfaced on Instagram, a photo she sent privately to her now ex-boyfriend.  While it did not show her face, the photo did reveal her name and where she lives. It appeared in one of dozens of accounts exposing nude pictures of underage North Carolina girls.

"There were over a thousand followers on there. Over a thousand people saw that picture," Roberts said.

The SBI is now investigating at least 30 accounts involving nude photos of minors in at least nine counties in North Carolina.

Wake Forest police asked the SBI to step in last week after a mother complained about nude photos of her teenage daughter appearing on the social media site.

Several other law enforcement agencies in North Carolina, including police in Rowan County, are now launching their own investigations into the scandal.

"Even if you're under age and you're creating or receiving these images, you can still be charged with child pornography related crime," said digital forensics examiner Lars Daniel.

Daniel tracks photos like the ones surfacing. He says parents need to talk to their children about the dangers of posting explicit pictures of minors, and even consider changing phone settings like turning off the camera function.

"You have to remember people can take screen shots, they can save it to their computers, they can upload it peer-to-peer file sharing software. It literally will go everywhere and you will never be able to get it back," Daniel said.

The SBI investigation now includes Wake, Durham, Pitt, Craven, Johnston, Chatham, Randolph, Surry and Edgecombe counties. However, the number of affected counties is growing, as law enforcement agencies continue launching their own investigations.

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