How girls were pressured into sending intimate photos

Newly released court documents are shedding light on how six Nova Scotia boys convinced more than 20 girls to share intimate images of themselves.

6 teenagers from Bridgewater, N.S., area to be sentenced in July for redistributing images without consent

The teens are due in Bridgewater provincial court July 31 for sentencing. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Newly released court documents are shedding light on how six Nova Scotia boys convinced more than 20 girls to share intimate images of themselves.

The teenagers are expected to be sentenced in Bridgewater provincial court July 31 for sharing intimate images online of more than 20 local girls — some as young as 13.

The boys, all from the Bridgewater area, used online Dropbox accounts that were created in 2015 to share images with one another. They were youths at the time of the offences.

The names of the accused and the girls who appear in the photos are protected by a court order.

Locker cluster

In an agreed statement of facts, one of the girls described seeing a cluster of boys around her locker at school one day. She said she felt like they had all been talking about her.

The girl said one of the boys in that group had earlier asked her to send pictures and she said she knew this meant sexual pictures.

Following the locker incident, the boy kept asking her to send pictures. The girl said she felt pressured and eventually sent four or five pictures to the boy through Snapchat. She did not give him permission to redistribute the images she sent.

After sending the pictures, the girl said she felt horrible. She said she felt if she didn't send him the pictures, he would spread a rumour about her at school or confront her about it.

Trusted friend

Another girl described the same boy as someone who she knew for a long time, since they were young children.

She said they would talk in class and he would compliment her looks and tell her that he liked her. She said she found him sweet.

The girl said the boy would also talk about how the two could trust each other and then he would ask her for photos, including "full nudes." The boy would also ask for photos of certain body parts, including breasts and vaginal area.

The boy asked the girl repeatedly for the photos and said it was "no big deal." The girl said she felt she could trust the boy and that no one would find out about the photos.

She was 14 at the time and ended up sending six to eight photos to the boy through Snapchat. She did not give him permission to redistribute the pictures. The boy told her he would not take screenshots of the pictures to save them.

Feeling regret

One of the victims said she had a crush on one of the boys and that they would talk at school. She said she felt that he was flirting with her.

He eventually asked her to send "nudes." At first, the victim said no, but then worried he would stop liking her if she didn't send a photo.

The victim ended up sending a photo through Snapchat. She said she thought she could trust him with the photo but regretted it after she sent it. She did not give the boy permission to redistribute the image.

Intimate images

Images of the victims were shared on two different Dropbox accounts.

Some of the pictures showed breasts, vaginal and anal areas. Of 61 pictures documented, 15 showed full faces or partial faces.

Some of the file names for the images on Dropbox often included a girl's name followed by the name of a body part.

Photo exchange

The Dropbox accounts were created following discussions in a Facebook group.

During group chats on Facebook, the subject of intimate photos of female students came up and many members of the group acknowledged having those kinds of photos and members were interested in exchanging them.

There were 61 unique photos in the first Dropbox account. Logs show between April 2, 2015 and April 12, 2015, there were 106 files attempted or fully uploaded. There were 20 girls identified in the first Dropbox.

'How to delete Dropbox account'

The account was deleted on or around April 12 once it became clear to the group that others knew about it, including school officials and female students.

The second Dropbox was active between April 9, 2015 and April 17, 2015. There were a total of 46 instances of files being uploaded to the account. Images of seven girls were found on the account.

A total of 16 electronic devices were seized through the course of the investigation. One phone had an app called "Safekeeper" and it contained 61 intimate images that appeared to be screenshots sent through Snapchat.

Another phone that belonged to one of the boys showed in its internet search log that he had looked up "how to delete Dropbox account."