An area high school freshman was recently sentenced to probation, community service and classes after texting a sexually explicit photo to a classmate, who had that photo taken off of his phone and posted on Instagram.
She agreed to an interview with NewsCenter 7 to tell her story and warn others about the consequences of "sexting." NewsCenter 7 agreed to hide her identity.
Here's what she had to say:
"He kept asking me to send a picture to him, so finally I did. And then in September, the last week of September, I was talking to a new guy, and he's like, 'Here, I'll send you a picture.' So he sent me one, then I sent one back to him. The next week, people kept making jokes and stuff about it, and I was just like, 'What are you talking about?' Finally they're like, 'You haven't (seen)?' He did not send it to someone, someone got in his phone and sent it to himself, and another guy posted it on Instagram. My face wasn't in it, though, but it was still out there.
"I was really scared. I didn't know that this could happen. I trusted them, and they really broke that trust.
"I still have people make jokes about it, and say, 'Oh, hey, are you gonna do this now?' It's really hard to go to school, even though I still hold my head high, it still hurts my feelings.
"(People in school seeing the picture) happened on a Tuesday, and I was called to the principal's office on a Thursday, the day before my cheer game, and they said, 'Oh, this happened, and we need your phone, and we're gonna call the police.' Oh, and then, the next ... that night, my cheer coach said, 'Oh, since you posted a picture yourself, we're gonna kick you off the cheer squad.' And I said, 'That wasn't me, I didn't do that.'
"Having to sit there and (be) told my rights and growing up watching Criminal Minds and stuff like that, always knowing what it is and not expecting to be told what those rights were, that was hard.
"I didn't think it could go into court or have this effect to it.
"I was grounded, I didn't have my phone for six months. I didn't really have anything, just my family.
"My family was very supportive of me even though it was a really big mistake. I was really strong through it, and that's what they kept telling me.
"(The court case finishing is) an extremely big load that's been lifted off my shoudlers. My biggest fear going in there was being registered as a sex offender.
"(Telling her story is) to warn other people, don't do this. Even though it would make the guy, you think, like you more, or make you popular. No, it just makes you look bad. It's not worth it."