SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. -- The sheriff of a metro Atlanta county is giving parents and teens a stern warning after a video of a pornographic video of a 15-year-old student was shared widely across the student body.
"The video was recorded by another student during school hours," Sheriff Darrell Dix said. "The video was then shared multiple times and it appears that it continues to be shared."
Dix said in a statement to parents and the community that his office is putting its top priority on protecting the victim who was recorded in the video. And he said students who have the video - especially the one who created it - will face charges.
"What happened is a crime," he said. "It is unlawful to record, possess, or distribute child pornography, and the student who made the video has been charged accordingly."
Now, he's telling parents across the county to take their child's phone and make sure the file isn't on them.
"We are not asking you to turn your child in," he said. "Inspect the phone, search it, and if you find this video or any other pornographic content, delete it."
He said that parents should also take care to delete the video from the cloud and empty the trash on any device where it was found.
"Our first goal is to stop this video from spreading further," he said. "Speak to your child about this incident - even if you find nothing."
He added that teens have no right to privacy on their cell phone if its provided by the parent going further to say that their phones should be checked "often and thoroughly to protect them and others."
"If they don't like it, be a parent, not a friend," he said.
As for the charges levied against the student - who has not been identified due to age - the department said that they are appropriate.
"Some may say, 'Prosecution is too much, they're just kids'. First of all, I think you would feel differently if it was your minor child being shared in a pornographic video on social media," he said. "If your 'kid' is old enough to have a cell phone, and knowingly record or share pornographic material, they know what it is, and they are old enough to be held responsible for these heinous actions."
Dix concluded with an assurance that the sheriff's office will work closely with the school system as the investigation continues.