Earlier this month, a 15-year-old girl allegedly had sex with multiple partners in a high school bathroom in Florida.
Police are now looking into the incident after a video of the act circulated on social media.
It has been revealed that the teenager was previously a victim of human trafficking. The mother of the young girl recently reached out to a local TV station in hopes of making people understand her situation.
— People Magazine (@people) May 26, 2016
A representative from an agency, who worked with the girl’s case, served as the family’s spokesperson.
“I had heard… a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it and thought there are some red flags,” Megan Estrem said in an interview. “What’s upsetting about this is this behavior is not uncommon for human trafficking victims.”
Estrem is the founder of Be the Light, an advocacy group helping victims of sex slavery and human trafficking.
According to Estrem, victims of sex trafficking had very traumatizing experience. The teen ran away when she was 13 and was saved recently from a human trafficker who held her captive for two years. The girl was placed in several treatment programs after her rescue, but none of the programs were able to address the effects of her sexual exploitation.
“She did get some help, but it wasn’t specific for what she needed,” Estrem explained.
She added that the girl was “not equipped to make a stable, rational decision in that situation.”
Parents of the girl and the police initially decided not to press any criminal charges. However, after the video of the act surfaced online, the Florida Department of Children and Families decided to investigate the case.
“If a video was taken, it’s unquestionably child pornography. There’s no ambiguity there,” Tampa area defense attorney John Trevena explained. “Just the sheer volume of participants, allegedly 25 boys, suggests mental health issues with a 15-year-old girl. It should be investigated as a crime, taking advantage of someone with a mental health issue.”
The video of the girl having sex in the school bathroom was posted on Twitter and Snapchat. It is still unclear if the people who took the cellphone video or posted it will be prosecuted under child pornography laws.
Teen Girl, Multiple Boys Film Sex Video in High School Bathroom, Post on Snapchat pic.twitter.com/QdLrYeyuID
— Images (@vctv_images) May 23, 2016
Florida’s age of consent is 18, but state laws allow 16 and 17-year-olds to consent with someone age 16 to 23. The school did not disclose the ages of the boys involved.
According to reports, the teenager had sex with 25 boys in the South Fort Myers High School bathroom on May 17.
Its_Hoe_K: Several boys have S3x with girl, 15, in South Fort Myers High School bathroom https://t.co/XVOmKMBFbI pic.twitter.com/eso7r9zOFi
— Seyi (@linda_cakess) May 21, 2016
However, Lee County School spokeswoman Amity Chandler clarified that the number of boys the teenager had sex with “is less than the number seen going into the restroom.”
Estrem also believes the girl “did not sleep with 25 boys in the bathroom” and that “it was more of a spectator sport.”
According to the statement of the mother, her daughter had gone to the boy’s restroom to meet up with a boy she had a crush on. The girl agreed to have sex with the boy — then word got out, and more boys walked into the bathroom.
Students involved, many of them athletes, have been disciplined. Five students have been suspended, and 11 are going to face punishment, school sources said. The girl has been pulled out from school after the incident.
— EagleStar.NET (@EagleStarNET) May 23, 2016
In a letter county school superintendent Greg Adkins wrote on Tuesday, he acknowledged that what happened in the school is “not just an issue of student behavior, but also of supervision.” He also asked everyone to not judge the students involved.
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]