By William Thornton
ANNISTON - Anniston Police officials are speaking out about the dangers of "sexting" as they investigate a case involving a girl sending a nude photo of herself in text messages to friends.
Sgt. Chris Sparks said police learned about the case after the mother of a "very young teenage girl" reported the incident on Tuesday.
Police believe a teenage girl sent a nude photo of herself to friends sometime in May or June. Those friends, in turn, sent the photo to others.
"It's still being downloaded," Sparks said. "There's no telling how many people have seen it now."
Police are still investigating the case. Sparks said parents and children need to be aware of the ramifications of sexting. Besides potential embarrassment, the photo may "follow" them as they look for a job, he said. Parents should be interested in what their children are doing with their phones, understanding that "privacy ends as soon as you hit send."
"Once you send that image, you're disseminating child pornography, and that's a class A felony, the same as some violent offenses," he said. "If a person was convicted, they would have to register as a sex offender."