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May 19, 2017 05:22 PM

School Resource Officer Warns Against Sexting

An 18-year-old Baltic student is at the center of child pornography case in Minnehaha County.

On Thursday, KELOLAND News was in the courtroom as Nicholas Schmidt was charged with child pornography and rape.

According to court papers, the teen intimidated a teenage girl into sending him nude photos, and then forced her to do things by threatening to send those pictures to her school.  

To give you an idea of just how common the crime is, Captain Jason Gearman with the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said his department, Sioux Falls Police, and school resource officers are all dealing with multiple cases of inappropriate photos being sent over social media platforms. 

He says it has "almost become problematic." 

It may not seem like trouble from the get go, but that can change quickly. 

"Once you hit that send button on your phone or your computer, it's out of your control. It's gone," Sioux Falls School Resource Officer Robert Draeger said. 

Draeger says you never know where that personal picture will end up. 

"It usually starts out as boyfriend/girlfriend and 'Oh, send me a couple of pictures.' They think nothing of it; kids tend to be very trusting. Well, when you're young, relationships change very quickly," Draeger said. 

Officer Draeger's advice?

"If you don't want your grandmother or your parents to see this, don't send it to a friend because you never know who it will get to," Draeger said. 

So what if the photos have already been sent? 

"These pictures are still out there and can be used," Captain Jason Gearman said. 

The next best move is to tell someone. 

"Even if you do not want to come forward to law enforcement, there are resources out there; these victim advocate places that will help you get through the process and we encourage you to contact them. Even if you don't want to contact law enforcement, at least get the help that you need or some advice on what to do," Gearman said. 

Whomever you choose to confide in, acting right away could be better in the long run. 

"Hopefully we can reduce the damage this can cause. The sooner we know, the sooner we can act, the less it causes a problem," Draeger said. 

Captain Gearman adds that parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing on their cellphones and social media. 

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