4 Elwood teens facing charges in child exploitation investigation
UPDATE (April 12, 2018) — Montana Smith pleaded guilty to multiple counts of possession of child pornography. A child exploitation charge was dismissed as part of his plea deal. He was sentenced to 1 year in the Department of Correction, with the sentence suspended to probation.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Four Elwood teens are facing criminal charges after police say they shared nude photos of underage teens with other students on school property.
“When it became an issue was when it got shared to other people,” said Elwood Police Detective Lucas Traylor.
Police say 18-year-old Montana Smith and 19-year-old Lucas Vinson shared nude photos of underage girls while on school property.
“We were notified by the school officials that there was a male student that was caught showing pictures of breasts on his phone,” said Detective Traylor.
Police say at least two other boys under the age of 18 are also facing child exploitation charges but they cannot share their information because they are minors. Detectives say a school resource officer called police after she was notified that Smith had multiple nude pictures on his phone. Police believe at least one of the girls was bullied into sharing photos with the suspects.
“There were several students interviewed, several phones that were taken, and search warrants for multiple phones,” said Detective Traylor.
Smith faces five felony charges of child exploitation and five felony charges of child pornography. Vinson faces one count of child exploitation.
“Three girls is what I believe that it was but there was a couple different pictures which meant for the multiple counts,” said Detective Traylor.
Police want other teens to understand the dangers of sharing too much, even if they believe that person will not share it.
“Anything that goes on the internet it can get out there and anything that you send over a phone it can get out there. With Snapchat people think that it disappears but it does not,” said Detective Traylor.
Detectives tell us more charges could be filed and more arrests could be coming in this active and ongoing case.