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Twitter users warned over alleged teen sex video tweets

By The Citizen  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

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YOUNG people who spread vile claims on Twitter about a video of a teenage girl allegedly engaged in a sex act have been warned they could be a click away from committing a serious offence.

Gloucestershire police confirmed they are investigating allegations, made on the social networking site, about footage of a Gloucestershire pupil understood to be in Year 10. It is believed officers have now seen a video.

And the force moved quickly to warn there could be serious repercussions for those who have watched or shared any such video online.

Hundreds of tweets also alleged the sex act involved an animal.

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"I would like to remind people that viewing and distributing indecent images of children is a serious criminal offence," said Detective Chief Inspector Richard Cooper.

"Just by downloading, viewing or retweeting links to any indecent images involving a person under the age of 18, you are committing an offence.

"We are prioritising the well-being of all those involved in these allegations and are working with our partner agencies to establish exactly what has happened."

The force confirmed it is an offence to take, make, or distribute indecent images of children under Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978, as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and contrary to schedule 6 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. That covers viewing the video.

Even if it did not exist, tweeting about the video and naming a girl could be prosecuted for online bullying.

The Citizen, which has decided not to name the school, has not seen the footage, but alerted police to the Twitter claims.

The force is currently investigating web claims and is working with Gloucestershire County Council and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

The school's headteacher declined to comment.

Sharon Copsey, NSPCC South West head of service, said: "Young people who create indecent photos or videos might think they're engaging in harmless fun, but at the very least they put themselves at risk of embarrassment or humiliation if the images are shared or posted online."

 
 

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