Belfast Telegraph

Revealing pictures and video of teenage girl posted on Facebook triggers police probe

By Rebecca Black

A police investigation has been launched after an image and a video of an almost naked 16-year-old girl were posted on a Facebook "buy and sell" page.

The content appeared to have been posted by a man who made a number of allegations about the girl.

It was posted to "East Belfast buy, sell and swop" page on Saturday.

The person who posted it also made threats to publish the material across the internet so that "she respects decent families".

It was reported to the PSNI and was no longer on the page yesterday.

One of those who reported the matter to police was local political activist Gary Spedding.

He told the Belfast Telegraph of his disgust at the post.

"Posts of this nature, the sharing of intimate photographs without consent and the way revenge porn is used to target mostly women is absolutely disgusting," he commented.

"This is part of a male entitlement complex that must be challenged in wider society. Women are not the property of men. They are not there to be objectified and humiliated. The oversexualisation of women is a serious problem and I hope that in this case the individual or group of people responsible are brought to justice.

"This is even worse as the individual targeted was apparently 16 years old - making it a particularly vile crime."

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police in east Belfast received a report on Saturday, January 21, and enquiries into the matter are ongoing."

Facebook was contacted for a response to this story.

New laws were created to prosecute those who maliciously share sexually explicit pictures of another person in 2014.

Revenge porn has been defined by law as the distribution of a private sexual image of someone without their consent and with the intention of causing them distress, and is now a specific offence in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.

Graphic images can also be used for the purposes of blackmail. In June 2015, Co Tyrone schoolboy Ronan Hughes (17) took his own life after individuals he had met online threatened to send images of him to one of his Facebook friends unless he paid them £3,300.

A 31-year-old man has been charged by police investigating Ronan's death.

He appeared at Bucharest municipal court in Romania last October, charged with producing and distributing indecent images of children as well as blackmail. He was remanded in custody.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it had been liaising with a number of agencies in a variety of jurisdictions as part of the investigation, including the Romanian Police, Romania's Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism, the National Crime Agency, and Europol.

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