Mullen Middle Student Charged in 'Sexting' Case

A 13-year-old student faces an invasion of privacy charge for alleged "inappropriate texting."

OUTSIDE PHILADELPHIA -- A 13-year-old student at a New Jersey middle school was charged last week with third-degree invasion of privacy for reportedly sending a text message that included an "explicit" photograph of his ex-girlfriend to fellow students.

Investigators from Camden County Prosecutor's Office and Gloucester Township Police Department began investigating allegations of an inappropriate text message circulating among the student body at Ann A. Mullen Middle School in Sicklerville on Oct. 12.

A recorded message by Mullen principal Joanne Acerba sent out as an auto-call last Thursday evening implored parents to check their children's cell phones and computers for an "explicit" image, with the threat of criminal prosecution of any students found to still possess the photo.

Good evening. This is Dr. Acerba, principal of the Ann Mullen Middle School. We are sending you this most urgent message, as requested by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and the Gloucester Township Police Department, which may have an impact on your son or daughter.

As a result of an investigation by law-enforcement officials, (it has been learned) an inappropriate picture of a student has been forwarded via cell phone text messaging to an undisclosed number of students. This picture reveals an explicit young female. Obviously, this is a serious matter for the district, law enforcement and the parents of students who may have saved this picture on their cell phones and/or transferred it to a computer.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office has requested that we notify all parents of this issue and demand that this picture be deleted from all cell phones and/or home computers. The prosecutor has allowed 24 hours for all parents to comply with this directive.

Please review the photos on your child's phone and/or home computer, and immediately delete anything you discern as inappropriate. Any student found to continue to possess this picture after 24 hours from this message will be formally charged by the Camden County prosecutor.

We thank you for your attention to this matter, as it is a matter of safety for all of our children. Please continue to communicate any information you hear from students to our school so that we may keep all of our children protected from cyber offenses. Have a good evening.

Gloucester Township Police Deputy Chief David Harkins refused to identify the victim in any way on Wednesday. He would not confirm a report that the victim is the accused 13-year-old student's ex-girlfriend.

Harkins also would not speak to the nature of the text message the student allegedly sent to his peers, only describing the 13-year-old boy's action as "inappropriate texting."

Harkins indicated the police investigation is complete. He noted that no other students have been charged at this point, and that the text message has not resurfaced.

"We have no new reports and no new issues," he said.

In addition to the third-degree invasion of privacy charge, Gloucester Township Police charged the 13-year-old boy with harassment—a disorderly persons offense.

The charges were filed against the 13-year-old boy on Friday, Harkins said.

Get Gloucester Township news and events delivered to your inbox each morning with our daily newsletter and breaking news alerts.

Michelle Wolfson October 19, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I think I still played with Barbie's when I was 13!
Joe Hill October 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM
I believe that a society is a living entity. It has morals, values, and standards, among other qualities that make up it's character. It is sad that for whatever reason the parents or parent of the 13 year old is not involved in this child's life not to know what's going on. Society calls us to do so many things except slow down and make the choices that are best for ourselves, our children, and the people of our community. My hope is that the parents take an honest look at the proper attention needed for their child.
Blackwood Observer October 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM
We were too terrified of the nuns back in the day to do anything that inappropriate in Catholic school. I wonder how Sister Mary Agony would have reacted to that young man?
Jim October 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Very plainly put Joe, it is up to the parents. You should be quoted over and over again until they get it. "Society calls us to do so many things except slow down and make the choices that are best for ourselves, our children, and the people of our community. My hope is that the parents take an honest look at the proper attention needed for their child."
Monica October 22, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Unfortunately at 13 year old today is like a 16 or 17 year old 20 years ago. The way these kids grow up and develop as early as they do, and the type of TV they watch, they need to be talked to at a very young age and I think many of the assemblies that they see in high school should be started in middle school. These kids know everything by the time they finish 7th grade and that includes everything from sex to drugs and alcohol. Many parents don't believe their kids know all this stuff until it comes to this. I say wake up in this century and talk to your kids when they hit middle school and STAY INVOLVED in your kids' lives every day, not just when its convenient or at times of trouble.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »