Three Bastrop students were arrested last week after being accused of circulating nude and graphic photos of female students on the social media platform Snapchat, prompting an outcry from parents and students and a silent demonstration at Cedar Creek High School.
Thomas Wayne Fryer III and Weston Wayne Narro, both 17, were charged with unlawful disclosure of intimate visual materials, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail, for distributing naked images of female students without their consent, according to their arrest affidavits.
A third unnamed juvenile was also arrested and charged, the school district said.
The female students could be seen on Snapchat engaging in sexual acts and with “intimate parts exposed” and were easily identifiable since the images showed their faces, the affidavit said.
“We took these reports very seriously and are pleased with the swift resolution,” district spokeswoman Kristi Lee said in a statement. “The well-being of our students is our top priority. We will continue talking with them about what is appropriate on social media and what dangers exist and involve parents in that process as well.”
Records show that Fryer and Narro were booked into the Bastrop County Jail on Friday but were no longer in custody this week.
A student who spoke last week to the Bastrop Advertiser but asked not to be named for fear of harassment said she was added to the Snapchat account called “CCHS_exposed” Jan. 31 and was shocked to see lewd photos of her classmates.
“It made me physically ill,” she said.
It is not clear how Fryer, Narro and the third student who was arrested obtained the graphic photos, but they encouraged those viewing the posts to send more pictures.
Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing social media platform for smartphones where users can post “stories” that can be set to disappear after a certain amount of time. However, viewers can save photos with screenshots indefinitely.
The student who talked to the Advertiser and her mother, who also asked not to be named for fear of putting her daughter at risk of retaliation, shared redacted screenshots of posts from the account with the newspaper. One post said, “I can’t post tonight someone snitched I’ll have to do it at random times now look to see if I post something on my story.”
She said she reported the account Feb. 1 to district officials, who were already interviewing Cedar Creek High victims. Later, she said a second account called “BHS_exposed” had been created about Bastrop High School students.
The district said its Police Department began investigating shortly after administrators were alerted to the accounts.
Several students in response to the Snapchat account staged a protest on the Cedar Creek High campus, sitting in silence with their mouths duct-taped and holding signs that read, “Just another victim” and “If you watch this and walk away you’re a bystander.”
“I have been cyberbullied before,” one student said. “I just felt like the teachers were not going to take it seriously. They have so far.”
After the sit-in, administrators sat down with the students and agreed to come up with a solution together to spread awareness.
“Bastrop ISD stands firm in not tolerating bullying or cyberbullying on our campuses,” the district said in a statement. “We appreciate the quick response of students in reporting the incident and in assisting the administration in the investigation, and we will take swift and appropriate action against anyone involved.”
According to Snapchat’s community guidelines, users cannot “post, save or send nude or sexual content involving people under the age of 18.” If someone violates the guidelines, Snapchat said it “may remove the offending content, terminate your account or notify law enforcement.”
Users can report safety concerns at support.snapchat.com.
Both accounts mentioned by the student and in the arrest affidavits were visible on a search of Snapchat users this week, though they appeared to have been disabled.
Snapchat did not respond to emails seeking comment on whether the accounts had been disabled.