The swapping on-line of indecent photographs amongst pupils was “prevalent” at a Whitby college it was alleged in a court.
The claim was made by a former student of Whitby Community College in a pre-sentence report on him on 14 charges involving indecent photographs of a 14-year-old girl.
The claims of Lee Graham, now 20, related to activity when he was a student at the college in 2008 and 2009 and involved a total of 79 images of the same girl, described at York Crown Court as having an “exhibitionist nature”.
Graham of The Ropery, Whitby, appeared before the court for sentencing on 10 charges of distributing indecent images, three of possessing specific images of the girl and one of possessing 76 indecent images on his laptop.
Simon Whaley, prosecuting, told how Graham was arrested in March, 2011 and investigations revealed he had received the images from the girl herself and had distributed some of them to 14 other people.
The court heard that images depicted the girl in various poses, including erotic posing in underwear and indulging in more explicit sexual activity - all taken by herself on her mobile phone and sent via a social networking site to Graham who was at the time aged between 15 and 17.
In police interviews Graham claimed he did not fully understand what he was doing was illegal, believed the girl was older and suggested he should have been better informed at school about such matters.
For Graham, Daniel Cordey said that his client had been “squeaky clean” up to these offences being committed, adding that what had happened back in 2008 and 2009 had many years later come back to haunt Graham who was now mature and again leading a law abiding life.
He said that the 22 months of the offences hanging over his head since his arrest had affected both Graham and his family.
Passing sentence, Judge Spencer QC said that the fact that the girl was willing to make an exhibition of herself in this manner was no mitigation for Graham. He added that the law was there to protect girls of that disposition.
Graham was placed under a 12 month community order with a requirement that he complete 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also placed on the sex offender register for five years.