“Lawsuit filed over ‘sexting’ suicide”

by Walter Olson on May 14, 2009

“The family of a Sycamore High student who hanged herself after nude pictures she took on her cell phone were disseminated without her permission is suing the school, the city of Montgomery and several students they believe are involved.” [Cincinnati Enquirer] Jessica Logan was 18 and on spring break at the time. Patrick at Popehat, and earlier Scott Greenfield, have some relevant things to say about both the civil and criminal law angles of the problem.

{ 4 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 05.14.09 at 8:36 am

All three girls took nude photos of themselves on their cell phones. Jessica Logan sent her photo to Ryan Salyers who, the suit said, then sent the nude pictures to four others.

“The negligence of the schools and the resource officer’s participation is beyond despicable,” the suit notes. “There should have been some sort of interaction/counseling to help our child and protect her privacy as best as it could have been protected under such dire circumstances.”

Protect her privacy from the nude photos that she took and sent out herself? The mind boggles!

2 Dennis 05.14.09 at 3:13 pm

They’re suing because their daughter was a felonious child pornographer?

3 William Nuesslein 05.15.09 at 5:46 am

Somehow the boy was declared a sex offender. I believe that that tag is forever, a terrible punishment for what should have been no crime at all. If you use electronic transmissions to share nude pictures of yourself, then what would you expect? Sadly, suicide is a vicissitude of life. It is a shame that our courts allow people to impose their perversions on others. Only God knows what drives a person to suicide.

4 Joe 05.17.09 at 12:42 pm

Dennis, the girl was 18 when she took the photos.

I’m highly skeptical of most claims of cause of suicide, especially the ones of late involving the internet. Like with so many other things, in their grief, parents are seeing cause where there is only weak correlation.

Putting on my pure speculation hat, I’ll guess that the girl suffered from depression. The nude photos were a result of attempting to cope with that depression. She probably also got very drunk and had a lot of sex during the same time period, all in an attempt to numb her pain.

(I do think that one reason parents sue or try to make criminal cases against someone is out of guilt for not doing enough. They believe they should have seen it, could have done more. By finding a dramatic cause, they alleviate their guilt. Of course, it is quite common for people to have not seen the symptoms of depression in others, even in hindsight. [Unfortunately, parents especially get blamed for that; there is a weird myth out there that the signs of clinical depression leading to suicide can be seen by anyone close to the person. That's utter nonsense.]

[And no, none of my children or relatives have committed suicide, so I'm not rationalizing here.])

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