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Teens' Naked Photo Sharing Worries Prosecutor

Teenagers using cell phones, Web cams and the Internet to share naked images of themselves have prompted a Utah attorney general to revisit how such cases should be handled.

A group of 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls at Farmington Junior High School traded headless nude self-portraits with each other on cell phones in January, but there are several other similar unrelated cases.

"The conduct involved here runs the spectrum from being less severe to some shocking-type behavior," said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings.

"Some were engaged in producing and distributing, some were engaged in just taking pictures of themselves and showing."

Rawlings said law enforcement expects to see more of this, so his office has been working on a blueprint of fair legal options that take into consideration such variables as the age of the person who sends the photo and the one who receives it.

Teens have been carrying cell phones with cameras for several years. Rawlings said he isn't sure why there's been a surge in this kind of image sharing. Many of the cases under review occurred before the Farmington Junior High case was made public.

"Why these things weren't called to our attention before this, I don't know," Rawlings said.

Rawlings said his intention is to provide the teens with help if they need it and deter others from similar activities.

"We're hoping that kids get the message that this is wrong," Rawlings said. "We also want parents to get the message that their youngsters are engaging in this behavior, and make sure they're aware of it."