Multiple police departments and the FBI are investigating an apparent disturbing, pornographic video involving a minor that is being shared and forwarded extensively on Facebook, according to media reports this week from around the country.
The warnings issued by law enforcement are all the same: Do not view the material and do not share it, even in an effort to identify or bring justice to possible perpetrators.
Sharing the video or screenshots of the video is distribution of child pornography, which is a felony, police and attorneys warn. Viewing the video is also a crime.
“Some people might think that sharing it with the ‘right person’ could help solve the crime. In this case, that is incorrect information and we do not want to see an innocent person get in trouble,” the Marietta Police Department in Georgia wrote Friday in a Facebook post.
An investigation is underway by the FBI and federal prosecutors and there are multiple unconfirmed reports of a suspect being arrested in connection with the images, according to Q13 FOX.
Anyone who comes across the video is advised to report it, notify Facebook immediately and delete the video file from their account, according to several police departments, most of them in Eastern states.
In addition to being illegal, social media shares can add to the victim’s trauma.
“Every time it gets posted, the victim in this case gets re-victimized for more people to see what they have been subjected to,” trial attorney Tim Gann told WHNT News 19 in Alabama.
Lt. Brooke Walker of Alabama’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said Friday that several agencies are conducting a “very active, very aggressive investigation,” the details of which cannot be shared because the case involves a minor, according to WHNT.