Sharing of nude photo of teenager at Catholic school under investigation

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The sharing of a nude photo of a student from a Catholic secondary boys’ school in Melbourne’s north-west has been reported to police, with the principal telling parents there had already been repercussions for those involved.

A St Bernard’s College student is alleged to have photographed another student in a change room without the victim’s consent in 2022.

An investigation is underway into the possible sharing of a nude photo.Credit: iStock

The Essendon school said it had recently been made aware of the incident and the subsequent sharing of the photo with other teenagers, as well as its possible circulation among students at a nearby girls’ school.

St Bernard’s principal Michael Davies said school administrators had immediately reported the incident to police and investigations were continuing.

“This is not only extraordinarily upsetting for the young person involved but is also a criminal offence,” he wrote in a letter sent to the school community on Tuesday and seen by The Age.

Davies said there had already been “significant repercussions” for those involved.

“The wellbeing of the young man at the centre of this issue and his family remains our highest priority,” he wrote.

“We are currently being directed by the authorities in our response to this matter, but I can say that there have been significant repercussions for those involved with further investigations pending.”

Rita Grima, the principal of St Columba’s College in Essendon, said the girls’ school was also working with authorities to investigate the possible dissemination of the photo.

“St Columba’s College takes all issues of cyber safety extremely seriously and has clear policies and procedures in place,” Grima said in a statement.

“Proactively, the college works with students to ensure they understand the importance of responsible digital citizenship, their own cyber safety, and the harm that breaches can cause to individuals.”

In the letter sent to St Bernard’s parents and guardians, Davies said the incident was a reminder to “continue a dialogue at home and at school” around the appropriate use of social media.

“As a college we continue to take a very firm stance on the use of mobile phones during school hours and the taking of images without consent as written in our student code of conduct,” he said.

“We have very clear policies regarding both mobile phones and social media.”

Victoria Police have been contacted for comment but were unable to provide any details on the incident.

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