A West Rowan High School student has been arrested and suspended from school after officials said he posted a nude photo of a minor on Instagram earlier this week.
Juan Bautista, 17, of Woodleaf was arrested Friday and charged with cyberbullying, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. It is a felony in North Carolina to share nude images of minors. It is unclear whether Bautista could face additional charges.
Officials began their investigation after a fully nude picture of the 15-year-old female victim was posted to an Instagram account called “Thesehoes01” on Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said.
During their investigation, detectives said they spoke with those involved and were able to trace the path of the photo back to a male student, who officials said created the Instagram account.
“The victim’s photo had originally been sent to her boyfriend in confidence, but leaked to this boy, which then made it available on Instagram,” officials said.
“(Bautista) was open and honest about his actions and accepts responsibility,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Bautista, who is scheduled to appear in court on March 19, was issued an out-of-school suspension by school administrators, according to officials.
Bautista’s arrest comes just days after the State Bureau of Investigation reported it is investigating similar situations in at least nine other counties.
Last week, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office said two girls in its jurisdiction reported that nude photos of them had been posted online.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday that nude or inappropriate photos of high school students appearing on social media is a problem that could get worse as publicity around the issue increases.
Cooper encouraged parents to talk to their kids about Internet behavior and how easy it is for photos to be shared online. He also suggested parents monitor or restrict access to social media, particularly at night.
The Associated Press contributed.