Avon police use forensic tests on students' phones

Criminal charges possible for students

AVON, Ind. - Detectives are going through the data on about a dozen cellphones that were confiscated from students at Avon High School.

The incident has turned into a criminal investigation after Avon police say about a dozen male students shared naked images of about five or six female students.

Detectives seized the phones from the students they believed were the major players behind the photo sharing. Investigators are now faced with the task of figuring out who received and sent which images.

Detective Jeremy Chapman is a forensic specialist. He has cords and software that will read and copy the data from tens of thousands of different electronic devices. The software can even detect deleted images sometimes.

"Typically the average phone takes about two to four hours to process I'd say. But I have had some that have taken over 24 hours," Chapman said. "There may be tens of thousands of images on a phone that we would have to sort through and sometimes it's a needle in a needle in a haystack."

As required by law, the school contacted Avon police Wednesday morning.

"It allowed us to kind of take the initial steps to stop the processes of sending the photographs out to other students," Avon Police Department Lead Detective Brian Nugent with the said.

Nugent said the images were hidden under apps that kids frequently use to hide pictures, videos and texts. Apps like DigiCalc and SpyCalc are disguised to look like calculators.

Nugent says both the boys and girls involved could face charges of child pornography.

Although the students are cooperating now, there is no guarantee the naked images won't come back to haunt them in the future.

"Well, there's a good chance that the images have been saved on other platforms. It would be naive to expect that we've received it in every format it may have been sent," Nugent said.

Some of the cellphones have been returned. It could take another week and a half or more to process all of the phones and get them back to their owners.

At that point, detectives will have a better idea of exactly how many times the images were shared.

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