BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Sutton Calahan, 17, couldn’t believe a recent message he got on Snapchat. He says it came from an unknown account.
“It's definitely an extortion thing. They're saying if you don't send us other people's nude pictures, we're posting your pictures,” Calahan said.
The U-High sophomore wasn’t initially concerned, because he says he’s never taken such a picture, but when he looked at what the mysterious account was posting publicly, he realized others may have taken the bait.
“Probably 10 to 15 different images of naked 14-year-olds, 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds. I mean, many people that go to different schools around Baton Rouge,” Calahan said.
He recognized one of the teens as his friend.
“Her face and everything was published on there, and [it] humiliated her,” he said.
Sutton immediately told his father, local attorney, Spencer Calahan, who filed a report with police. Now, he’s encouraging other parents to have conversations with their kids about the dangers of swapping photos.
“Once we found out that the teachers, or the principal, or the parents don’t even know about it, ya’ know, we just wanted to get the word out so that parents, talk to your kids, don’t take these pictures,” the elder Calahan said.
A spokesman for the LSU Police Department confirms detectives are working to identify who’s behind the account in question, but no other details have been released. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office houses a cyber crime unit that often investigates similar cases, but it’s unclear if LSU detectives have asked for their assistance.
During a previous interview, lead cyber crime investigator Corey Bourgeois said charges for swapping underage photos can be severe.
“We will go to the parents and say, 'Listen, this is what your kid’s doing, they’ve got to stop it,’” Bourgeois explained. “They don’t understand that they take a picture, [send] a text message, and they think it’s all fun and games, but they’ve just manufactured and distributed child pornography. That’s two laws broken right there.”
Allegations of blackmail and extortion could add more potential charges in the case exposed by Calahan.
If you have any information that could help detectives, call LSUPD at 225-578-3231 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.