Some people are wondering whether a middle school prank is criminal or should be handled by the school.
LAKEVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) -
Four students at Century Middle School in Lakeville – two boys and two girls – have been charged with taking and sharing photos and video of two girls undressing in the school's locker room.
Ultimately, it is believed more than 40 Century students have seen either the photos or video, which were taken last month.
The following charges were filed Tuesday in Dakota County:
A 14-year-old boy has been charged with conspiracy to commit interference with privacy and criminal defamation .
A 13-year-old boy has been charged with conspiracy to commit interference with privacy and criminal defamation.
A 14-year-old girl has been charged with conspiracy to commit interference with privacy and criminal defamation .
A 14-year-old girl has been charged with interference with privacy.
All the charges are gross misdemeanors.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said the incident was reported to Lakeville police by a school administrator on May 21.
"These photos quickly spread throughout the school. It's believed 40 students saw these inappropriate images -- and that's just an example of how quickly these types of problems can escalate with the social media environment that we live in today," he said.
According to the charges, the two girls took photos and a video of two other girls undressing in the locker room. The first girl is accused of taking four photos of one victim and a video of the other victim. The second girl is accused of taking one photo.
The photos and video showed the backs of the victims partially undressed from the waist down. The photos and video were eventually forwarded to the two boys charged in this case.
"This is a significant invasion of anyone's privacy -- to take photographs or images of this nature," Backstrom said.
According to the charges, the two boys had apparently created a game in which they took photos of girls in the hallways and forwarded them to other students. The boys are accused of paying one of the girls $5 and giving the other a can of soda in exchange for the photos and video.
Backstrom said no further charges will be filed in this case and all four teens will be dealt with in juvenile court.
"No juvenile detention is expected as an outcome in any of these cases and it is anticipated that none of the juveniles charged in this case will be left with a permanent criminal record as a result of this prosecution," Backstrom said.
Backstrom said many of the other students involved in possessing or forwarding these photos have already been disciplined by the school.
A spokeswoman from the Lakeville School District said the students were disciplined in accordance with the district's harassment policy, which calls for suspension or expulsion.