A Carmel Police Department spokesman said an investigation is ongoing into a complaint the department received this week. / Sean Gallup, Getty Images
CARMEL, Ind. -- Police are investigating complaints that students at an Indiana high school are in possession of "inappropriate digital images" after widespread reports on social media that freshmen were being disciplined for having sexually explicit photos on their phones.
Police and officials at Carmel High School would not say whether the images were sexual in nature or what laws may have been broken. But students reported Thursday on Twitter that school administrators were conducting a "nude raid" and suspending those who had "sexts" saved on their cellphones.
Lt. Joe Bickel, Carmel Police Department spokesman, issued a statement Friday with few specifics, saying only that an investigation is ongoing into a complaint the department received Tuesday regarding the images.
"The Carmel-Clay Schools and the Carmel Police Department are currently working together in this investigation," the statement reads.
It would be the second sexting investigation in suburban Indianapolis schools in the past six months. Sexting is the exchange of nude photos through messaging programs such as Snapchat.
Under Indiana law on child pornography and exploitation, it is a felony offense to "present" or "exhibit" digital images of sexual conduct by someone younger than 18 - even when the messenger also is underage. A separate provision, applying only to phone images, lowers the minimum age to 16.
In December, more than a dozen cellphones were seized at Avon High School from students who were allegedly sharing nude images of their classmates. In that case, police discovered the images hidden in a cellphone app that was disguised as a calculator.
Authorities, however, declined to press charges.
In Carmel, officials were tight-lipped Friday about the allegations, which came to light during final exams. School officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Bickel would not elaborate on the images.
"There's a wide range of different types of images, so at this time (Chief Tim Green) doesn't want me to get into any specifics on what the images are," Bickel said. "We have talked to the prosecutor's office, and once the investigation's complete ... we'll determine at that point whether any law has been broken."
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