This Guy Was Arrested for Sharing Girls’ Nude SnapChat Selfies on Dropbox
Back in March, a 17-year-old girl walked into the Ambler Police Station shaking and clutching a laptop. She had found an online link to nude photos of dozens of underage girls, including some of her schoolmates at North Penn High School. And now, six months later, police have arrested 18-year-old Brandon Berlin, who graduated from North Penn this year.
The girl told police that her boyfriend had given her his email login information and that she logged into his email account on March 7th after he told her that he was thinking about breaking up with her. (Ah, high school.)
She saw an email that provided a link to the file-sharing website Dropbox, and when she clicked on it, she was shocked to find nude or partially nude photos of dozens of underage girls, including girls she recognized as fellow students at North Penn.
Police say that many of the photos appeared to be selfies that had originally been transmitted on SnapChat, the app that was supposed to delete anything you shared online within seconds, the idea being that you could share a nude selfie or other potentially compromising image with no fear of it coming back to haunt you at a later date, when you’re older and realize that it was probably stupid to share nude selfies on the Internet. Of course, the photos aren’t ever really deleted, and it’s dirt-easy for anyone with half a brain — say a guy like Brandon Berlin — to hold onto your pictures for time immemorial.
It took eight agencies to sort out the mess, and investigators eventually landed on Berlin as the prime suspect. They found a Dropbox account that appeared to be at the center of the scandal, and according to a criminal complaint filed in the case, that account contained Berlin’s high school research papers as well as a folder containing the nude photos of the underage girls. That folder was called “I prolly had ur pics.” And when investigators obtained a copy of Berlin’s senior yearbook, they realized that this was a direct copy of his quote in the yearbook.
Police say that when interviewed, the girls in the photos said they gave no authorization for the images to be shared. According to the criminal complaint, Berlin later gave a voluntary statement to authorities and admitted to collecting and sharing the photos. Investigators say he expressed remorse and a desire to apologize to the girls.
Last week, Berlin was arrested and charged with one count of transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor, a misdemeanor of the second degree. (He was 17 at the time of the original offense.) But Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman has announced that he will be tried as an adult in criminal court. He was released on $10,000 bail and has been ordered to have no contact with the girls in the photos.
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