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The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is working in partnership with the Maryland State Police Criminal Investigations Bureau and other regional police agencies to investigate inappropriate pictures of young girls on a social media site that were brought to their attention during the weekend.

Inappropriate pictures of teen girls and women, including nude photographs and close-ups of individual body parts, have been circulating on a popular social networking site, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said agencies are working with the social networking site to address the concern.

She said accounts were created with pictures of Charles County teens that were posted without permission from the teens. With the help from the Internet site the accounts showed up on and other users reporting images as inappropriate, Richardson said photos were deleted, and accounts were disabled.

In a Facebook post Monday, Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) thanked those who contacted the sheriff’s office about the issue.

“It took a community of shared information to end this chapter. ... We need to remain vigilant in efforts to keep this from happening again,” he wrote in the post.

Richardson said the sheriff’s office received many calls about the accounts. She said unfortunately situations such as this are not uncommon on the Internet, and they can often be difficult to stop.

Sheriff Rex Coffey addressed the concern in an email statement.

“Every now and then we see this type of activity on social media, and it’s appalling. These sites are hurtful for those whose photos appear on them, and when we are made aware of a problem, we do everything we can to resolve it. This is yet another reminder that people can abuse any photo that is sent through social media, and it’s important to talk with your children frequently about the dangers of taking these types of photos,” Coffey (D) said, according to the statement.

Richardson said one way to help prevent it is through education. She said school resource officers assigned to every middle and high school in the county talk to students about safe Internet use.

Supervisor of School Resource Officers for schools in northern Charles Sgt. Mike Vaughn said middle school students learn about safe Internet practices during the Drug Awareness Resistance Education program, and on the high school level, students hear from officers about Internet safety through the Truth and Consequences program.

Vaughn said students are taught about Internet footprints, and if there is information they don’t want a future employer or someone else to see, not to post it.

Officers also address inappropriate photographs with high school students and the dangers of posting them to the Internet or even just sharing them with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Richardson said the joint investigation is continuing.

gphillips@somdnews.com