Cops promise tough action on cell porn

2011-10-23 08:30

Copying and sending sexually explicit material via the internet or from your cellphone could see you charged with manufacturing and distributing child pornography – no matter how young you are.

This is the warning from police after four teenagers were arrested in connection with a cellphone video circulated among pupils at Oudtshoorn High School in the Western Cape.

The video shows three schoolboys – aged 16, 17 and 18 – performing sexual acts with a 15-year-old girl who is also a pupil at the school, police spokesperson Captain Louis Visser said.

The parents of the schoolgirl, who allegedly initiated the sexual acts, went to the police after a teacher told them about the video.

She was removed from the school last week.

The incident apparently occurred last month, but only came to the attention of one of the teachers last week when the video was passed around in class.

The three boys in the video were arrested at the school last Friday and appeared briefly in court on statutory rape charges.

The case was postponed to December 2 at the request of the 18-year-old pupil, who is writing his matric exams.

The parents of the 17-year-old boy, who allegedly filmed the acts, met the investigating officer last week.

He appeared in court on a charge of manufacturing and distributing child pornography.

Visser said: “Children who manufacture and distribute child pornography are usually completely unaware of the fact that they’re breaking the law.

“The cellphone has been confiscated by the police but the video had already been deleted.

“A warrant will be issued so experts can recover the video.”

Visser said children don’t realise the seriousness of their deeds – neither those who commit the acts nor those who make videos and distribute them.

“Every individual who received or forwarded the video could also be charged with distributing child pornography,” Visser said.

Even when minors take nude photographs of themselves to send to someone else, Visser said, they are breaking the law.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant’s spokesperson, Bronagh Casey, said the school’s governing body must decide whether the pupils should be suspended.

“The minister cannot comment because he is the highest level of appeal in such a case,” Grant said.

Last year, in a similar incident at the Hottentots-Holland High School in Helderberg, a four-minute video of a Grade 8 boy and a Grade 10 girl having steamy sex next to the school hall was circulated.

The pupils were not criminally charged but were permanently suspended from the school.

A pupil who copied the act on his cellphone was stripped of his prefect status.

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