Authorities have decided not to file charges against the Chaparral High School students whose phones were seized during class last month in a “sexting” investigation.
Detectives were unable to “find any evidence that supports probable cause in order to recommend filing to the district attorney’s office,” said deputy Ron Hanavan, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators were performing due diligence on a tip from a credible source about an inappropriate photograph of a young girl that was starting to circulate among students. They secured an arrest warrant before taking four cell phones at the school Feb. 14 to “stop it from going viral,” said detective Greg Howden. Those phones are now being returned to their owners.
“We took appropriate action to determine what it is that occurred,” Hanavan said. “We feel it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to close the case.”
Hanavan said he is unsure if evidence was erased from the phones prior to them being taken into evidence. It was determined that there was not enough evidence to pursue a criminal case.
Hanavan said it’s important for teens to recognize the seriousness of the felony charges that could have been filed. All of the suspects were under the age of 18.
“They need to be aware that when you send pictures with your phone, they could be out there forever,” he said.