LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Two Land O’ Lakes High School students have been charged with sexual battery, and investigators say one of them even videotaped the attack before posting it on social media.
Now, students are now being warned they could be unwitting lawbreakers just by receiving the graphic images.
It was the talk of campus Monday at Land O’ Lakes High School.
“Yeah, it was just like in lunch and in class, everyone talked about it,” said student Myla Maldonado.
“It’s like they pick two sides with either the girls or the guys. Because there aren’t many details about it that we know,” said student Joe McClellan.
Pasco deputies say they’ve arrested a 17-year-old and another student identified as 18-year-old Myron Bloom. Both facing felony charges and are accused of having sex with intoxicated 15- and 16-year-old girls.
Investigators say the alleged victims were so drunk there’s no way they could have consented.
“These girls were not willing participants in this,” said Pasco County sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Doll. “They were violated.”
Investigators say they still are not sure if the victims were given alcohol by the suspects or had consumed it on their own. Regardless, they say the girls told them they had not consented to the sexual contact or the video.
Pasco deputies got involved several days earlier when they received a disturbing tip that a video had been taken during the sex acts and then circulated on social media.
Investigators say they used those images to identify the 17-year-old, who then told them Bloom had shot the video and posted it.
“They deliberately, for whatever reason in their minds, took this video and then forwarded it out there on social media platforms which is, in my opinion, is horrendous,” said Doll.
Bloom is a star linebacker for the Land O’ Lakes High School football team.
A conviction on the sexual battery charges and posting the distributing the images could sideline any plans he had for a bright future.
“Your actions, you know, could have lifelong consequences,” said Doll. “You know, think twice before you do anything like that because it could harm you the rest of your life.”
At Bloom’s home, just minutes from school, a man answering the door told us, “No comment”.
Pasco school officials say both of the teens arrested have been suspended and are in the process of being expelled. The girls in the video are being offered counseling.
Pasco deputies also want anyone who may have had access to the video to know that possessing or distributing such images can itself be a crime.
It’s unlikely, they say, that they would pursue charges against someone who might have received the video unsolicited, but they don’t want it going any further than it already has.
That’s why Linda Cobbe with Pasco Schools is urging parents to get involved with their children’s social media interactions.
"Know what your students are doing on social media, look at their phones," she said. "Monitor what they are doing. If the parents are paying for the phones, it's their property, and they have every right. I know the kids don't like that, but just for everyone's safety, it's better that they are being intrusive in their kids' lives."
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