Student sexting case hits snag

TIFFIN Charges may never be filed in the case of the 18-year-old high school student who in March al
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



Charges may never be filed in the case of the 18-year-old high school student who in March allegedly circulated racy photographs of his ex-girlfriend through his cell phone.

Detectives said they cannot determine which jurisdiction the man was in when he allegedly forwarded the photos.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s office was the latest in a long line of law enforcement agencies to declare it was not pressing charges before forwarding the case to another agency.

“(The suspect) states he received this photo unsolicited, which we have no way to prove or deny, so any offense thereafter did not occur in this county,” Crawford County Sheriff’s Det. Chad Filliater said. “I believe he was in Tiffin (when he sent the photos), but I don’t know if that bases the charge in Tiffin or Erie County — where it was received.”

Meanwhile, the ex-girlfriend — a 17-year-old EHOVE student — was charged with unruliness more than a month ago by the Erie County Sheriff’s office for sending sexually explicit photo text messages to the young man.

Called “sexting,” the act of sharing sexually-graphic photos and content through text messages is growing in popularity, local law enforcement officials say.

The Erie County Sheriff’s office first forwarded the case to Tiffin police because the young man allegedly resides there at least part-time.

“It fell into their jurisdiction because all we know from our report is she sent it to her boyfriend from (Erie County),” Det. Sgt. Jared Oliver. Since the boyfriend’s residential address is in Tiffin, we can only figure he would have sent it from his phone, and the jurisdiction would fall right back to where he lives.”

When Tiffin police questioned the young man, he never denied circulating the photos, Tiffin police Det. Dave Horn said.

But Horn determined the young man, a Columbian High School student, was out of his department’s legal reach because he actually lives in Bucyrus.

The case was again forwarded.

But once again, nothing came of it.

Bucyrus police Capt. Joe Greathouse said he learned the suspect actually lived in the county and put the case into what he said were the right hands — those of the Crawford County Sheriff’s office.

But Filliater said it was a mistake to send the case to his department, because the transmission didn’t occur out in the county. He said it originated in Tiffin.

He claims it’s either the responsibility of Tiffin police or Erie County Sheriff’s deputies to charge the man.

He said he forwarded the case to the appropriate agencies.