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Students at 5 Canberra schools target of porn ring

By Charlotte Harper - 17 August 2016 27

School students. Photo: iStock

Girls at five Canberra schools – Canberra College, Gungahlin College, Radford, St Clare’s and St Mary Mackillop’s College – are reportedly among those who have been the target of an online porn sharing site where men and teenaged boys solicit and swap graphic sexual images of young women who live in particular geographic areas or attend specific schools.

According to a News Ltd report, 71 Australian schools are caught up in the porn ring, which has posted or traded more than 2000 images since its inception in December 2015. The site contains more than 50 threads, with each representing a region, such as a rural town or city suburb.

screengrab from Change.org petition

The News Ltd article includes a series of quotes from the porn ring (slightly edited to prevent Google searching):

“Who has nudes of this bitch? I hear she throws it around!”
“I’m posting pretty much all the hottest little teens I have.”
“I have a fair few of ***** ****** including a few box shots of her.”
“I’ll pay good money to see the rig under **** *******, anyone have any of her?”
“Any **** *****? I’ve hear she sucks d**ks”.

According to the article, one young woman tried to have photos of a friend removed from the site, only to find her own name added to the wanted list calling for nude shots.

Another who asked for photographs to be taken down “was told that it was her fault for behaving like a ‘slut’, and that her images now belonged ‘to the internet’,” the News Ltd article reports.

Sharna Bremner from End Rape on Campus told the News Ltd journalist that the men were “getting off on … the very fact that these images are not consensual and that the victims have no idea they are being exploited”.

“The thrill is not just that they might see the girl who sits next to them in maths class, it’s also that they can put in an order for the girl from maths class. What these boys are really getting off on is the sense of power they feel over these girls, and the idea that they can own and obtain them like objects,” she said.

ACT Education Minister Shane Rattenbury said today that the young men involved in this activity needed to know that their behaviour was not only illegal but “completely deplorable”.

“The fact that they have engaged in this activity against their peers is even more disturbing – these are their friends, girlfriends and sisters,” he said.

“Clearly more focus is needed on continuing to educate young men about how to treat women with respect.”

ACT Policing’s Detective Acting Superintendent Marcus Boorman, of Criminal Investigations, said this afternoon that his team was working with national and international counterparts to investigate the matter, which had also been referred to the office of the Children’s Safety Commissioner.

He urged anyone who believed they were a victim or had had their image posted on the website to contact police.

“I would also like to take this oportunity to reinforce to people, and encourage parents and young persons to talk about the risks in relation to posting images on the internet,” Superintendent Boorman said.

“Once you post an image on the internet and you press send, you have no control. That image can end up anywhere.”

Meg Brighton, Deputy Director-General of the ACT Education Directorate, said additional supports were in place for staff and students.

“We are appealing to anyone with information to come forward and to speak to the police about any information they have,” she said.

“Our schools and our community will not tolerate this behaviour that harms, victimises or threatens the safety of young women.”

The principal of Radford College wrote to parents last night when the story broke:

Dear parents, caregivers and staff,

Statement in response to tonight’s news report re: pornography ring involving 70 Australian schools

Radford College has been informed tonight of a News Limited report listing it as one of 70 Australian schools where current or former students are allegedly connected in some way to a pornography ring.

We have also been informed that the matter has been referred to the Cyber Crimes Unit of the AFP. At this stage the College has not been contacted by the AFP, nor any authority that might be involved in an investigation.

The College stands ready to cooperate fully in any investigation by the authorities responsible for investigating these matters.
Radford College takes a zero tolerance approach to behaviour of this nature, which stands in stark contrast to the values and culture not just of the school, but the broader community supporting it.

Any student or parent who has any information about this kind of behaviour is urged to inform the College or contact the Police.

Yours sincerely

Fiona Godfrey
Principal

The acting principal of St Clare’s College also contacted parents last night:

Dear Parents and Carers,

This letter is not to alarm, but to inform.

At 6pm this evening, the Director of Catholic Education, Mrs Moira Najdecki, sent me the following news item and called me to discuss its content. Indeed, we have received some communication from some parents already, drawing our attention to the item. I bring this to your attention so that you are hearing from the College what we know and understand and how this will be best managed, rather than hearing this from elsewhere.

You will be aware that there have been a number of news articles about male students in other parts of the country sharing images of female students in an invasive and degrading manner. I was as distressed as you would have been to read those reports.

The following news item, points to a systematic, planned, and deeply offensive use of other people’s images without their consent. It points to students at our school and four other schools in the ACT, among 70 schools nationwide, where students are targets. At this stage, I am unaware whether it involves images of our students being posted, however, the article does suggest that girls at our school are being targeted. There is no indication of how many students are involved.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/students-from-70-australian-schools-targeted-by-sick-pornography-ring/news-story/53288536e0ce3bba7955e92c7f7fa8da

St Clare’s is proactive in pastorally caring for your daughter and our pastoral program addresses the following things:

St Clare’s engages in an extensive pastoral and education program around technology, cybersafety, positive relationships, self image with all year groups and our Year 9 students participate in the SAPPSS (Sexual Assault Prevention Program For Secondary Students).
All students annually sign a Responsible Use of Technology agreement.
The College works very closely with the AFP to report inappropriate usage and to bring the AFP into our education program. Indeed, we are very happy and grateful for the excellent contribution the AFP makes in this matter.
Student satisfaction surveys (conducted anonymously) point to an overwhelmingly positive response by students to their sense of safety at St Clare’s and their sense of happiness at being here.
Whilst I can appreciate that young people, from time to time, can make errors of judgment about what they share and what they post, social media is an unforgiving, potentially invasive, and very public medium.

Just the same, this report points to something far more concerning than an error of judgment and its degrading, humiliating, and contemptuous disregard for images of other people will not be marginalised or overlooked.

Should any parents or carers have concern that your daughter has been impacted by this situation, please contact the AFP so that they can investigate and contact the College immediately so that we can provide appropriate pastoral support.

I am very sorry to have to bring this to your attention on a Tuesday evening, but I believe it is best in the interests of the progress of your daughter, the wellbeing of your family and our college that you be made aware of as much as possible as soon as possible.

The College will, of course, communicate with all of you any further information as we receive it. Please understand also that whilst the privacy and dignity of some young and vulnerable people across the country has been disregarded, it will be respected by our College.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Natalie Dickie
Acting Principal

One group of concerned citizens has set up a Change.org petition calling on the Federal government step in.

“If Mr Turnbull and Ms Cash are serious about encouraging respectful male behaviour towards Australian women and girls, they need to take a stand by punishing the men who operate this group and the males who contribute to it,” it reads.

NSW Police have issued a statement saying the website is hosted overseas, and uses software that allows users to post text and images anonymously.

According to the statement, Detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit are liaising with law enforcement colleagues in other jurisdictions and making inquiries to determine if any offences have been committed in NSW.

Police are also working closely with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and liaising with the NSW Department of Education, the Association of Independent Schools of NSW and Catholic Schools NSW.

Police are reminding the community it is a criminal offence to take, transmit or possess images that are considered child abuse material (of a person under 18 years).

This also applies to teenagers, who are reminded that the dissemination of any material depicting nudity or sexual activity involving young people could constitute a criminal offence.

They should be aware they could be arrested and charged and, if convicted, will have a criminal record.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

File photograph of school students at top (not from Canberra): iStock; Screengrab from porn ring itself: Change.org

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27 Responses to
Students at 5 Canberra schools target of porn ring
sportsmum 11:38 am 23 Aug 16

If you are a person who wants to look at photos of naked girls without their permission, there is something wrong with you.

If you are a person who thinks that there is nothing wrong with posting images of naked girls without permission that were taken in the context of a relationship on the internet for all to see without permission, there is something wrong with you.

There are millions of photos of naked girls and women on the internet that are available for men to see. Why not look at these photos? When you are specifically seeking photos of girls in school or that you know so that you can ogle them, that’s not really about nudity, that is about shame, power and control.

If we take the attitude that girls should not take such photos because the risks are too great then we are also taking the attitude that all men and boys are perverts, cannot be trusted and are essentially bad people. Is that what we all believe? If we don’t believe this, then the people who posted these private images on the internet are the ones on whom the spotlight should shine, as the people in the wrong in this situation. If we do believe this, then clearly men and boys should not be allowed to access the internet, own mobile phones or computers and the like. If they can’t be trusted, then we need to treat them like they can’t be trusted. If we contend that they can be trusted, then those who do the wrong thing need to be held accountable for their actions.

rommeldog56 11:37 am 23 Aug 16

madelini said :

….but while not all men are rapists, the vast majority of rapists in Australia are men, and rings such as this where women are reduced to their body parts and shared online are symptomatic of rape culture. It is not good enough.

I would never blame someone for taking a picture and sharing it. I would absolutely blame the person it was sent to for sharing it with the world for fun. Would you blame the victim of fraud for having a credit card in the first place?

It should not be a matter of “if they didn’t have the pictures, they couldn’t share them”,

I wouldn’t blame a victim of credit card fraud for having a credit card. Its how they use it and where, that causes the fraud. Often they are not careful enough. Similarly, if the photos didn’t exist in in the 1st place, abhorrent instances such as this could not happen.

Given your strident anti male comments and assertions, what would u do to fix the problem(s) that you identify ?? That hasn’t already been or is being done now of course.

gooterz 7:07 pm 22 Aug 16

madelini said :

gooterz said :

madelini said :

gooterz said :

Be a cold day in hell before they actually charge any of the girls with producing and distributing child porn. Their stance is very biased in that regard. Both genders are doing the wrong thing.

If they actually went after the women responsible the culture of sexting would change overnight.

Nothing will change unless the source of the images is changed and that is the girls and boys that have mobile phone with apps like snapchat and kik.

I am appalled that you are victim blaming.

The blame of this abhorrent group lies solely with the boys – because they appear to be all boys – for sharing images that did not belong to them and without the permission of the owner. At best, it is a copyright issue, but I think we can all agree that this goes well beyond intellectual property theft and into blatant disrespect, dehumanisation of the subjects of the images, sexism, and entitlement over the bodies of young women.

Whether or not the images should have been taken in the first place is utterly irrelevant to the disgusting lack of respect shown by the people involved in this and other sites.

So you excuse bad behavour based on gender. There is no evidence that these people went to the school or were all boys. They don’t know who they are. However they do know that these girls are sharing photos around to multiple people which itself is illegal.

If a female student passed around a picture of a male students genitals im sure you would blame him for taking it and sending it out.

The victim of all of this are the boys and girls who arent involed who are all now tarred with the same brush.

The fact is that women and men are both horrible at times. Young girls don’t think twice for harassing other girls online. You can’t do anything to stop people from taking advantage but if you give them less chances too its better.

Every single article has mentioned the following: “pornography ring of teen boys and young men”. The content is reported to be exclusively of young women. The language quoted is indicative of young men.

To be clear, if it was an international ring of women sharing images of men and boys in the nude, I would be just as appalled. It is not, though. I cannot think of a single occasion where a large collective of women have been found to be sharing inappropriate images of men and boys without their permission. Even when celebrities phones get hacked, it’s the pictures of women that are shared. The closed groups on Facebook that are continually outed as being misogynistic and promoting rape culture – all men. Women aren’t perfect, but the blame for this kind of perverse action lies solely on men. I can guarantee that women receive naked pictures of men, but they choose not to distribute them on international websites and call the men degrading names. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be glad to see it and revise my position; I would also beg you to provide it to the police because no one deserves to have images taken and provided in confidence shared on the internet.

The taking of the photos by young women is a completely separate issue. If men and boys cannot be trusted to know when it is appropriate to share images they have been sent, then there is a problem. If men and boys do not understand why it is completely inappropriate and illegal to share information and images they have been sent in confidence, then they should be barred from owning mobile phones and having jobs where they deal with the public. If they cannot be trusted to respect 50% of the population because they are female, then they should be counselled until they can.

By and large, women do not, collectively and on the internet, threaten men with rape as a bonding activity. They do not call men “s#$ts” or assume any agency over the bodies of men. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but while not all men are rapists, the vast majority of rapists in Australia are men, and rings such as this where women are reduced to their body parts and shared online are symptomatic of rape culture. It is not good enough.

I would never blame someone for taking a picture and sharing it. I would absolutely blame the person it was sent to for sharing it with the world for fun. Would you blame the victim of fraud for having a credit card in the first place?

It should not be a matter of “if they didn’t have the pictures, they couldn’t share them”, it should be a matter of everyone knowing automatically what they should not post online without permission. If you can’t distinguish the difference, you should be held to account. The breach of trust and utter lack of respect in this circumstance is abhorrent.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/prince-harry-has-been-snapped-naked-during-a-game-of-strip-billiards-in-vegas/story-e6frfmqi-1226455548310

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/sydney-roosters-star-mitchell-pearce-caught-in-lewd-video/news-story/83672306a60fdabd1ef5b318a21e3972

So is the NRL also “victim blaming”?

madelini 5:43 pm 22 Aug 16

gooterz said :

madelini said :

gooterz said :

Be a cold day in hell before they actually charge any of the girls with producing and distributing child porn. Their stance is very biased in that regard. Both genders are doing the wrong thing.

If they actually went after the women responsible the culture of sexting would change overnight.

Nothing will change unless the source of the images is changed and that is the girls and boys that have mobile phone with apps like snapchat and kik.

I am appalled that you are victim blaming.

The blame of this abhorrent group lies solely with the boys – because they appear to be all boys – for sharing images that did not belong to them and without the permission of the owner. At best, it is a copyright issue, but I think we can all agree that this goes well beyond intellectual property theft and into blatant disrespect, dehumanisation of the subjects of the images, sexism, and entitlement over the bodies of young women.

Whether or not the images should have been taken in the first place is utterly irrelevant to the disgusting lack of respect shown by the people involved in this and other sites.

So you excuse bad behavour based on gender. There is no evidence that these people went to the school or were all boys. They don’t know who they are. However they do know that these girls are sharing photos around to multiple people which itself is illegal.

If a female student passed around a picture of a male students genitals im sure you would blame him for taking it and sending it out.

The victim of all of this are the boys and girls who arent involed who are all now tarred with the same brush.

The fact is that women and men are both horrible at times. Young girls don’t think twice for harassing other girls online. You can’t do anything to stop people from taking advantage but if you give them less chances too its better.

Every single article has mentioned the following: “pornography ring of teen boys and young men”. The content is reported to be exclusively of young women. The language quoted is indicative of young men.

To be clear, if it was an international ring of women sharing images of men and boys in the nude, I would be just as appalled. It is not, though. I cannot think of a single occasion where a large collective of women have been found to be sharing inappropriate images of men and boys without their permission. Even when celebrities phones get hacked, it’s the pictures of women that are shared. The closed groups on Facebook that are continually outed as being misogynistic and promoting rape culture – all men. Women aren’t perfect, but the blame for this kind of perverse action lies solely on men. I can guarantee that women receive naked pictures of men, but they choose not to distribute them on international websites and call the men degrading names. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be glad to see it and revise my position; I would also beg you to provide it to the police because no one deserves to have images taken and provided in confidence shared on the internet.

The taking of the photos by young women is a completely separate issue. If men and boys cannot be trusted to know when it is appropriate to share images they have been sent, then there is a problem. If men and boys do not understand why it is completely inappropriate and illegal to share information and images they have been sent in confidence, then they should be barred from owning mobile phones and having jobs where they deal with the public. If they cannot be trusted to respect 50% of the population because they are female, then they should be counselled until they can.

By and large, women do not, collectively and on the internet, threaten men with rape as a bonding activity. They do not call men “s#$ts” or assume any agency over the bodies of men. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but while not all men are rapists, the vast majority of rapists in Australia are men, and rings such as this where women are reduced to their body parts and shared online are symptomatic of rape culture. It is not good enough.

I would never blame someone for taking a picture and sharing it. I would absolutely blame the person it was sent to for sharing it with the world for fun. Would you blame the victim of fraud for having a credit card in the first place?

It should not be a matter of “if they didn’t have the pictures, they couldn’t share them”, it should be a matter of everyone knowing automatically what they should not post online without permission. If you can’t distinguish the difference, you should be held to account. The breach of trust and utter lack of respect in this circumstance is abhorrent.

gooterz 2:50 pm 22 Aug 16

madelini said :

gooterz said :

Be a cold day in hell before they actually charge any of the girls with producing and distributing child porn. Their stance is very biased in that regard. Both genders are doing the wrong thing.

If they actually went after the women responsible the culture of sexting would change overnight.

Nothing will change unless the source of the images is changed and that is the girls and boys that have mobile phone with apps like snapchat and kik.

I am appalled that you are victim blaming.

The blame of this abhorrent group lies solely with the boys – because they appear to be all boys – for sharing images that did not belong to them and without the permission of the owner. At best, it is a copyright issue, but I think we can all agree that this goes well beyond intellectual property theft and into blatant disrespect, dehumanisation of the subjects of the images, sexism, and entitlement over the bodies of young women.

Whether or not the images should have been taken in the first place is utterly irrelevant to the disgusting lack of respect shown by the people involved in this and other sites.

So you excuse bad behavour based on gender. There is no evidence that these people went to the school or were all boys. They don’t know who they are. However they do know that these girls are sharing photos around to multiple people which itself is illegal.

If a female student passed around a picture of a male students genitals im sure you would blame him for taking it and sending it out.

The victim of all of this are the boys and girls who arent involed who are all now tarred with the same brush.

The fact is that women and men are both horrible at times. Young girls don’t think twice for harassing other girls online. You can’t do anything to stop people from taking advantage but if you give them less chances too its better.

madelini 1:08 pm 22 Aug 16

gooterz said :

Be a cold day in hell before they actually charge any of the girls with producing and distributing child porn. Their stance is very biased in that regard. Both genders are doing the wrong thing.

If they actually went after the women responsible the culture of sexting would change overnight.

Nothing will change unless the source of the images is changed and that is the girls and boys that have mobile phone with apps like snapchat and kik.

I am appalled that you are victim blaming.

The blame of this abhorrent group lies solely with the boys – because they appear to be all boys – for sharing images that did not belong to them and without the permission of the owner. At best, it is a copyright issue, but I think we can all agree that this goes well beyond intellectual property theft and into blatant disrespect, dehumanisation of the subjects of the images, sexism, and entitlement over the bodies of young women.

Whether or not the images should have been taken in the first place is utterly irrelevant to the disgusting lack of respect shown by the people involved in this and other sites.

MERC600 5:59 pm 20 Aug 16

So what is the trouble worrying the young models who took photos of themselves , and sent it out over the internet.

Could it be that bit of federal law which says “The maximum penalty for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence is 3 years imprisonment.”

Or this bit “”Copyright is a type of property that is founded on a person’s creative skill and labour. Copyright protects
the form or way an idea or information is expressed, not the idea or information itself”

dungfungus 5:25 pm 18 Aug 16

Masquara said :

Rattenbury’s hit-them-with-a-lettuce-leaf response is totally inadequate. He plans what? Counselling and “empathy for alienation and disaffection” for these rape-culture criminals? How about expulsion from school, criminal charges, and hopefully jail.

“hit them with a lettuce leaf?
Kinky!

justin heywood 4:37 pm 18 Aug 16

Roundhead89 said :

Sounds like another Murdoch beat-up to me…

Rest easy Roundhead, the ABC and Fairfax ran it too, and of course THEY are the guardians of the truth.

AND,
speaking of truthiness;

Roundhead89 said :

Remember that this is the same media organisation which in 1993 called the Internet “the new distribution service for pornography” and started a petition to the Minister for Communications via their newspapers to have the Internet banned in Australia.

Got a link for that?

In 1993, porn would have taken a loooong time to download.

Masquara 2:42 pm 18 Aug 16

montana said :

Except the QLD police have said there doesn’t appear to be ANY child exploitation material on the website. Media scare mongering at it’s best.

“Using a carriage service to menace or harass” carries a jail penalty. Doesn’t have to be children.

Roundhead89 12:11 pm 18 Aug 16

montana said :

Except the QLD police have said there doesn’t appear to be ANY child exploitation material on the website. Media scare mongering at it’s best.

Sounds like another Murdoch beat-up to me. Remember that this is the same media organisation which in 1993 called the Internet “the new distribution service for pornography” and started a petition to the Minister for Communications via their newspapers to have the Internet banned in Australia.

montana 2:41 am 18 Aug 16

Except the QLD police have said there doesn’t appear to be ANY child exploitation material on the website. Media scare mongering at it’s best.

gooterz 11:46 pm 17 Aug 16

Masquara said :

How about expulsion from school, criminal charges, and hopefully jail.

For the students distributing child porn?

Masquara 7:47 pm 17 Aug 16

Rattenbury’s hit-them-with-a-lettuce-leaf response is totally inadequate. He plans what? Counselling and “empathy for alienation and disaffection” for these rape-culture criminals? How about expulsion from school, criminal charges, and hopefully jail.

gooterz 6:30 pm 17 Aug 16

Be a cold day in hell before they actually charge any of the girls with producing and distributing child porn. Their stance is very biased in that regard. Both genders are doing the wrong thing.

If they actually went after the women responsible the culture of sexting would change overnight.

Nothing will change unless the source of the images is changed and that is the girls and boys that have mobile phone with apps like snapchat and kik.

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