Six teens are facing child pornography and cyber harassment charges after posting nude photos of minors to social media, officials from the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday.
The suspects were arrested over the course of the last few weeks as a result of a joint investigation between the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, Passaic County Sherriff, and the Paterson and North Haledon Police Chiefs, officials said. All suspects were released into the custody of their guardians.
Authorities said a 14-year-old by and two 15-year-old girls, the hosts of the social media accounts, face charge of maintaining child pornography and file sharing. All six teens face charges of distributing child pornography, possession of child pornography, invasion of privacy and cyber harassment.
The three hosts allegedly created social media "purge" accounts to host the illicit images requested from other underage users, authorities said. Three boys, ages 14 and 15, then distributed the images and posted them to the accounts without users' consent.
During the course of the investigation, a 13-year-old and two 15-year-old girls were identified as victims, according to authorities.
Officials said once law enforcement officials became aware of the pages, the Passaic County Sheriff Office's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit contacted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the pages were taken down.