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Durham, N.C., students' phones seized after sex acts reported at high school

Tammy Grubb, The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) on

Published in News & Features

DURHAM, N.C. -- Durham County sheriff's deputies are investigating allegations of students having sex in a Riverside High School classroom and whether one alleged act was posted live to social media.

Deputy S. Mills reported seizing cellphones from two Riverside students Tuesday as evidence of the "distribution of child pornography," according to search warrants obtained by ABC11. Mills also had planned to seize a third student's cellphone, but Durham County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman AnnMarie Breen said that warrant may not have been served yet.

Durham Public Schools spokesman Chip Sudderth said the school system was aware of the investigation but did not have additional information about the students involved.

"Riverside Principal Tonya Williams and her team, as well as the Durham County Office of the Sheriff, are investigating allegations that some students engaged in inappropriate sexual activity on the Riverside campus that was then shared to social media," Sudderth said in a statement Wednesday.

"Principal Williams has taken steps to help prevent such incidents from happening in the future," the statement continued. "Due to student privacy laws we cannot share any more information on the subject, but we are investigating, and the safety and privacy of our students is our highest concern."

In the warrant, Mills, a Riverside school resource officer since March 2018, said a female student approached him Monday about an altercation she had with a male student.


The girl said she argued with the boy after he allegedly recorded and shared a video of a non-consensual sexual act between them, Mills said. He then spoke with a school administrator, who told him there was a classroom where students were known to participate in sexual acts.

Another student also reported to Mills on Monday that she had seen the boy and another student having sex in the classroom, the warrant states. On Tuesday, after taking a written statement from the girl in the warrant, Mills said two other female students also reported the situation involving the girl.

The female students said the boy and another male student had posted the sexual act live on the Instagram social media app, which allowed all of their followers to watch it, Mill said in the search warrant. One student said the boy also shared the video with another female student.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the incident, Breen said Wednesday. No arrests have been made, she said.


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