05/21/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Scranton, PA – A teenage girl whose phone was involved in a highly publicized “sexting” case sued the principal of a Tunkhannock Area high school, the district, the county, prosecutors and a detective involved with the case on Thursday, May 20, 2010, as reported by The Boston Globe.
The girl, now 19 and out of school, claims the principal illegally searched her phone in January 2009, found nude photos she had taken of herself and then gave the phone to prosecutors. The lawsuit claims she intended for the photos to be seen by “only herself and, perhaps, her longtime boyfriend.”
The suit claims the school’s Principal, Gregory Ellsworth, gave the phone to George Skumanick Jr., district attorney for Wyoming County at the time. Skumanick threatened to file felony child pornography charges against the plaintiff unless she enrolled in a class on sexual violence.
The plaintiff, identified only as N.N. in court documents, stated, “I was absolutely horrified and humiliated to learn that school officials, men in [the] DA’s office and police had seen naked pictures of me.”
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is representing her, seeks unspecified damages against Ellsworth, the district, the county, prosecutors and a detective from the case. It also demands the destruction of any remaining images in the possession of police.
A similar case that went to federal appeals court in March ruled prosecutors could not criminally charge a teenage girl who appeared in similar photos.