FBI, state Attorney General officials step into Norwin investigation
Cyber forensic technicians and an FBI division dedicated to investigating crimes against children have stepped in to help North Huntingdon police determine how nude images of Norwin High School girls surfaced on a pornographic website.
North Huntingdon police requested assistance from the FBI's Violent Crimes Against Children task force after learning files of nude images of high school girls were deleted from a pornographic website. Computer investigators with the state Attorney General's office are also involved.
“We would offer the assistance of our special agents, and depending on the nature of the investigation, it could be directed toward our child predator section,” said Joseph Peters, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General. “We would also offer any computer forensic analytical assistance that might be required.”
The FBI's Violent Crimes Against Children task force could provide information from other task forces across the country, Kelly Kochamba, spokeswoman for the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, said.
“We have a lot of resources that some of the local police don't have,” Kochamba said. “This kind of crime could be localized, but a lot of the times, it's not. If it crosses geographic boundaries, the local police can only do so much if it's out of their jurisdiction. We do assist with anything that crosses geographic boundaries.”
The task force works to decrease the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation, develop nationwide capacity to provide effective investigative responses and to enhance the capabilities of state and local law enforcement.
Norwin High School administrators were notified of the photographs on Oct. 30. The matter was turned over to police.
North Huntingdon Police Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Bouldin said the section of the website that contained five or six Norwin High School girls has been shut down.
All Norwin High School students participate in classes throughout the year that address safe online behavior. As part of the curriculum, police and building administrators provide an assembly to students about social media every year, according to a statement from district officials.
High school principals, teachers and administrators emphasized the “importance of strong parental oversight of their children or teens' Internet and computer habits,” according to the statement.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.