WAKEFIELD — Chief Steven A. Skory reports that the Wakefield Police Department has completed its investigation into reports of troubling social media posts by a student, referred to the police department by the Wakefield Public Schools.
On Oct. 12, 2021, Wakefield Public Schools and Wakefield Police Department began an investigation into allegations of inappropriate photographs of female high school students being posted to the social media site “Discord” allegedly by a male high school student.
The Wakefield Public Schools and Wakefield Police Department took this case and all allegations seriously from the onset, and a thorough investigation was conducted.
The police investigation determined that one male Wakefield High School student posted approximately 250 photos of female students to the Discord social media service. The investigation further determined that the majority of the photos posted by the male student were previously posted by the female students to their own social networking accounts, including VSCO, TikTok and Instagram. However, it was determined that the male student also took cellphone photos of female students without their knowledge, and posted those photos to Discord as well.
The Wakefield Police Department, in consultation with the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, and using all available investigatory and legal resources at their disposal, have determined that the actions of the male student did not meet the standards of violation of criminal law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and none of the photos posted to Discord included sexually explicit material.
Additionally, the Wakefield Police Department investigated an allegation of sexual assault levied against the same male student. Wakefield Police Detectives determined that the sexual assault claim was false and unfounded.
The names of all parties involved are being withheld due to their ages.
With the conclusion of the criminal investigation, this matter has been referred back to the Wakefield Public Schools, which is the appropriate body to adjudicate this matter going forward.
Chief Skory, who has met with the parents of students involved in this matter, strongly urges parents to have frank, open conversations with their children about social media.
“Our investigators determined that while the male student exercised poor judgement and engaged in questionable conduct, the matter did not meet the standard of a crime. Nevertheless, it should provide an opportunity for all of us to have an open and honest dialog with our children about how we treat one another and also about what we post online,” Chief Skory said. “It is extremely important that we work together as a community to monitor and educate our children about how to safely navigate the challenges that come with social media use. Social media is one of the most challenging variables the modern child faces, and as parents and educators we must be involved in helping prevent poor choices by our children online.”
Through our partnership with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, we would like to make our community aware of a Cyber-Education Training that was designed to help youth navigate these challenges. The training is a free, online program presented by the District Attorney’s Office and Children’s Advocacy Center. The training is available at https://cyber-ed.middlesexcac.org/.