Three Teens Face Charges for Targeting Michigan Teen On Instagram
Three teenagers are facing multiple felonies for a cyberbullying scheme targeting students in Michigan.
According to the Michigan State Police, two teens from Michigan and one from out of state each face three felonies for using threats, intimidation, sextortion as part of the Instagram cyberbullying scheme.
MSP tells Detroit TV station WDIV-TV that the teens created anonymous accounts on Instagram in order to distribute sexually explicit content in order to humiliate their targets. The victims are all high school students in Wexford County's Haring Township.
Wexford County is located in Northwest Michigan, south of Traverse City.
After an investigation by the Michigan State Police, The Wexford County Prosecutor's office issued charges to the three teens, charging each with:
- Distribution of child sexually abusive material,
- Possession of child sexually abusive material, and
- Using a computer to commit a crime.
According to Up North Live, an in-depth investigation revealed that the cyberbullying scheme began in September of last year.
Michigan State Troopers noted the importance of parental supervision when it comes to minors who could easily fall victim to online predators and cyberbullying.
Michigan instituted an anti-cyberbullying law which went into effect in March of 2019. Public Act 457 makes cyberbullying a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in and fines could be as much as $500.
Continued cyberbullying that becomes habitual can be considered a felony, carrying a penalty of five years in prison along with a $5,000 fine.
Resources for families who suspect they may be victims of bullying are available here.