School-threat investigation resulted in sexting case

A 16-year-old former Springboro High School student is set to return to court this week to face sexting allegations.

The boy, of Clearcreek Twp., is the same student who is facing charges after he allegedly sent a message on the social media platform Snapchat in which he made a comparison between a popular computer game and the number of people killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Police investigated that message as a potential school threat, and it was during that investigation that images on the boy’s phone were found that led to the sexting allegations.

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The boy is on on house arrest on charges stemming from both investigations - pandering obscenity, unruliness and disorderly conduct.

He was charged with pandering obscenity and unruliness on March 28.

The obscenity charges allege that, using his smart phone, the boy in December sent one video and one photo of his genitals to a “known contact,” according to court records.

The unruliness and disorderly conduct charges stem from a Feb. 16 message on Snapchat, which included a picture of an Osprey gun with a reference to scoring a “killstreak” in the ‘Call of Duty: MW3’ game. The message noted a coincidence with the Feb. 14 shooting by a former student of students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“If u don’t get the joke, it’s because in MW3 17 kills got u an osprey gunner as a kill streak. And it’s funny cuz 17 people died. Lol Get it? HAHa. Nah jk Im demented and death amuses me,” the boy said in the caption to the posting, according to court records.

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Springboro school officials said they were notified of the Snapchat message by Springboro police who also notified Clearcreek Twp. police.

“As is standard procedure, we made all Springboro Schools’ personnel who have direct contact with individuals entering our buildings aware of the post and the details surrounding it, in order to maintain our standards of safety/security. No incidents were reported related to this individual since the post and Clearcreek Township continued with their investigation. Springboro PD, Clearcreek Township PD, and Springboro Schools all worked together during this process,” Springboro Community City Schools Communications Coordinator Scott Marshall said in an email.

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The boy was detained on Feb. 20, but freed on March 1 on house arrest with electronic monitoring, provided he get mental health counseling, attend a day program at the detention center, follow a no-contact order and be barred from access to weapons or electronic devices, according to court records.

The boy’s lawyer, Aaron Aldridge, said the case involving the Snapchat message was different from the dozen or more other school-threat cases filed in Warren County since the latest deadly school shooting.

“There was no threat,” said Aldridge, appointed to represent the boy after the initial charges were filed.

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“If we’re going to arrest every kid that talks about something in the news, that’s a very slippery slope,” Aldridge added. “I would argue the line is somewhere other than where it is here.”

County Prosecutor David Fornshell said his office initally brought the disorderly conduct charges, rather than more severe charges - because the Snapchat message didn’t “rise to the level of a full-blown threat and there was no evidence of dissemination of porn.

The obscenity charges are based on pictures allegedly found on the boy’s phone.

Aldridge did not respond to requests for an interview last week.

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Before the trial, he indicated there were also questions about whether the boy volunteered to allow police to scrub his phone for evidence.

“It is a complicated case,” he said.

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