Gatineau teens charged in alleged child pornography network

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Police in Gatineau, Que., have broken up what they're characterizing as a network for selling and exchanging pornographic images of teenage girls that were taken from a password-protected social media platform.

In a news release issued Tuesday, police said several teenage boys are charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, as well as internet luring, in connection with the alleged network.

Police did not reveal how many alleged perpetrators were involved, nor when they were arrested. Police said the boys, who attend different high schools in the city, have already appeared in youth court and have been released with conditions.

Police said it appears the female victims didn't know their photos had been taken, nor that they were being circulated. The photos were in a password-protected section of the victims' Snapchat accounts called My Eyes Only, but were accessed by someone who was able to hack in.

More victims, charges possible

Police said they've already identified and met with several victims, but said their ongoing investigation could turn up more. Further arrests and charges are also possible, police said.

Because all those involved are minors, police aren't releasing any additional information that might identify them including their ages, where they attend school or where the searches took place, but said they will all "receive appropriate psychological support and the necessary guidance."

Anyone with any information is being asked to contact Gatineau Police, who are also reminding parents to talk to their teens about internet privacy and the potential risks involved.

"Password protected hidden libraries and the use of ephemeral modes will not protect them against ill-intentioned individuals or friends or against account pirating or theft of private photos," Gatineau police said in the release.