Snapchat app at center of school sexting investigation

Snapchat app at center of school sexting investigation »Play Video
KATU photo.

OREGON CITY, Ore. - A local teacher is suspected of 'sexting' with a 16-year-old student using an app that makes those kinds of things difficult to track.

The teacher has not been charged or arrested and because of that, KATU is not showing his picture or naming him. We can tell you he is a teacher at Oregon City High School.

This all started on Wednesday when the school district notified Oregon City Police after parents reported hearing kids talking about the teacher using Snapchat (an app that lets you send pictures and texts that are deleted within seconds after being seen). The teacher is accused of receiving inappropriate pictures using the app and sending one of his own.

Police say the nature of the app adds a challenge to their investigation, but they are working to get evidence.

"We've trained and bought equipment that can pull evidence out of phones," said Lt. Jim Band with the Oregon City Police Department. "snapchat - this is the first time we've been in a position where you've got to find evidence on Snapchat."

Because the student being 16 years old, that's too old for a child pornography charge, according to police.

KATU did speak to students about the teacher at the center of the investigation and we were told he is wonderful to his students - very engaging and eager to help.

About Snapchat

Snapchat is a photo and message sharing service for Smartphones that was though up by a group of Stanford University students and is now spreading like wildfire in high schools and middle schools.

Teens and tweens love the free app not just because they can use it to send pictures, video or text messages to their friends who have the service but also because all of that has a short shelf life. It can only be seen for 10 seconds maximum before it disappears forever.

There is a catch - Snapchat users can always use their Smartphone camera to shoot a screen capture of the original message. The app has a built-in feature that lets you know if your photo has been screen grabbed.

However, savvy users have posted work-arounds online to hide the capture.

Editorial note regarding comments on this story about the teacher involved in the investigation: We hear your concerns, and we’re making some adjustments accordingly.  We have to make tough editorial decisions every single day, and it’s a fine balance when the story involves the line between protecting the innocent and protecting the community at large that investigators believe might have been – or may still be – in danger.