Five students have been suspended and police have begun a criminal investigation after a cell phone video surfaced of a female student allegedly having sex with as many as 25 boys in the bathroom of a Florida public high school.
The incident at South Fort Myers High School has gone viral, leading to headlines in publications across the world as police and media dig up more details despite Lee County School District's attempts to keep the matter private.
The school district has declined to comment about the incident, aside from acknowledging it occurred and saying they're conducting a full investigation.
"I am upset about all the attention it is getting, to be honest with you," Pamela LaRiviere, who sits on the district's school board, told Florida's WINK. "I feel for all of the students involved."
Footage from a security camera in the high school shows about 25 boys entering the bathroom on May 17, according to CBS News. The girl allegedly admitted to having sex with "multiple boys" after sending text messages inviting several boys to the bathroom, WINK reported.
Police initially declined to investigate, but they launched a full investigation on May 23 after students began sharing graphic videos. Since then, investigators from the Lee County Sheriff's Office have teamed up with the state's Department of Children and Families to investigate the sex scandal, WINK noted.
Authorities were alerted when a faculty member overheard students talking about the incident. By then, videos of the incident were making the rounds among students, shared via texting apps, Snapchat and social media.
Five students have been suspended, but a criminal investigation is ongoing, and students who shared the videos could reportedly face child pornography charges. Another 11 students could face disciplinary action for their involvement in the incident, the district said.
WINK did not specify the ages of the students involved, although all of them were identified as students at the school. CBS only identified the age of the girl, who is reportedly 15 years old.
One mother told WINK her daughter was traumatized after she saw parts of the video, which students were watching in a classroom.
“She said mom this [girl's] head was in the toilet bowl and she looked like she was dying and there were a whole bunch of guys in there taking turns with her,” the unidentified mother said. “It is child porn and it is happening right here in front of our face in front of our children’s [faces].”
Lance Dunford, a Fort Myers area defense attorney, told the news station that students could face felony charges for sharing the video.
“It certainly is [child pornography]," Dunford said. "You have someone depicted in the video or pictures that is not over the age of 18, she is a minor. Parents, talk to your teenagers about these things. This is a big deal.”
No charges have been filed so far.
Despite the fact that video and stills of the incident have been shared among the 2,000-strong student body, school officials said they haven't been able to track down a copy.
School Principal Melissa Layner declined to answer questions about the incident, instead issuing a statement saying disciplinary issues had been "dealt with" and the district was "focused on student success today."
School spokeswoman Amity Chandler echoed the comments made by school board members, who chided the media and public for their interest in the story. Chandler said the district cannot release more details.
“This incident involves student discipline as well as a law enforcement investigation," Chandler said. "The district has addressed every question that we can address without violating students’ rights to privacy."