Imagine that you are a teacher that has just found pornography on a student’s iPad. Wanting to do the right thing―and with evidence to report the incident―you think that it’s a good idea to use the student’s email address to send the porn from the iPad to your email account because you can’t figure out another way to get file.
Seems harmless right? Guess again.
This simple act of trying to do the right thing could involve potential charges for the distribution of child pornography.
So what should you do if you discover pornography on a tablet, laptop or other device?
- Do not forward the email or attempt to copy the material to another storage device. Forwarding the email creates additional issues and could constitute a violation of law. By minimizing the amount of devices and online locations where the pictures are stored, the victim is more likely to be protected.
- If your school determines that the images are criminal in nature or cannot/should not be handled administratively, contact local law enforcement immediately to take possession of the evidence and safeguard it from destruction or further distribution. If local law enforcement is unavailable or unwilling to take the evidence, contact the state police or Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance.
- Ask the individual in possession of the material if they have stored the materials in any other location(s).
- Do not attempt to delete the material. Law enforcement will have to process the device and deleting the materials may make it more difficult to recover.
- If it is necessary to document the material for school records, do not include images or screenshots from the computer. Possession of these materials can constitute a violation of federal law.
Want to learn more? Here are two must-bookmark resources.
- The United States Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline.
Make sure that your fellow educators are aware of the implications as well as the proper steps to take if they encounter a similar situation.