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Teens charged with felony cyber bullying

ESTERO -- Two southwest Florida teens were charged with felony aggravated stalking after authorities said they posted nude images of a female classmate on Facebook.

The 15- and 16-year-old high school students were charged Wednesday after a more than eight-month investigation by law enforcement officials into a pair of Facebook accounts created in April.

Sexually explicit photos were posted and doctored to include the head of the victim on a nude female’s body, officials said. The accounts were created to seem as if the victim had posted the images.

The teens have been ordered to serve 21 days of home detention and will be arraigned Feb. 8.

Authorities said the victim was ridiculed by classmates in the days after the pages became active, which is what elevated the offense to a form of cyber bullying. Officials won’t confirm whether the victim is still attending the school.

School officials initially became aware of the first Facebook account on April 29 when a parent alerted the high school’s resource officer, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office report.

That triggered a full investigation, in which the resource officer interviewed several students and learned the victim had been teased after the accounts were posted.

The victim was interviewed and denied making the accounts.

Lee County Sheriff investigators assigned to the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force were called in and subpoenaed several records. The investigation led them to the charged teens, who told authorities they used a computer program to splice nude images with a photo of the victim, who one of the teens said was a former friend.

Despite the involvement of the federal task force, a spokesman in the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said he was unaware of any pending federal charges.

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