Jesse Logan was taunted about photo she sent to her boyfriendMore and more teenagers are getting caught "sexting," or sending racy, revealing or nude pictures of themselves on their cell phones. But when that picture gets in the wrong hands, it can be devastating.
The image was blurred and the voice distorted, but the words spoken by a young Ohio woman are haunting. She had sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls. The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.
And now Jesse Logan was going on a Cincinnati television station to tell her story. Her purpose was simple: “I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this again.”
The interview was in May 2008. Two months later, Jessica Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.
Last May, Jessie talked to News 5’s Sheree Paolello about how embarrassed and humiliated she was. She said she was being harassed and teased by other students, at home, at school and when she went out.As she tried to explain what it was like, Jessie broke down crying. "I still get harassed and stuff,” she said. “I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this same thing."
Jessie was trying to be strong. She wanted to warn other parents and kids. But Jessie's mom, Cynthia Logan, says the teasing turned to torture."She was called filthy names, things thrown at her,” said Cynthia. “Every single place she went they knew about that picture, they saw the picture. They knew about the picture! It's abuse. She was abused."
Cynthia says the moment her daughter’s private picture was sent out for everyone to see, things spiraled out of control. Jessie's grades plummeted, she started skipping school and Cynthia says when Jessie would go to school, she would hide in the bathroom to avoid being teased.
Jessie's family and friends knew how much she was struggling to move on but they had no idea how low Jessie had fallen. Two months after Jessie spoke with News 5, she went to the funeral of a boy who had committed suicide. After the funeral, she came home and killed herself.Eight months later, that horrifying moment was almost unbearable for Cynthia to recall. “And I walked over into her room and saw her hanging. Her cell phone was in the middle of the floor."Cynthia found her daughter hanging in the closet.
What seemed like high school bullying changed this family forever. The last memory Cynthia has of her petite, blond-haired, blue-eyed, only child is a phone conversation that happened hours before Jessie took her own life. Cynthia could hardly utter the words. “And she said ‘I love you madre.’ And I said ‘I love you baby and I'll see you soon.’"
Cynthia and her husband, Albert, say they are heartbroken and angry. They feel like something should have been done. They question why the five teenagers who continued to spread Jessie's picture and harass her were never charged."Almost eight months later, my daughter is buried in the ground. Are you kidding me? Where were you?" asked Cynthia as if the authorities were right in front of her.
Since Jessie’s death, authorities have started taking action against “sexting.” Montgomery police have charged one teenage boy who sent a racy video to other students. And Wednesday, the Warren County prosecutor filed misdemeanor charges against two 15-year-old students at Mason High School, for sending out nude pictures over their cell phones.
The school resource officer at Sycamore said he tried to do something about Jessie’s case. He said he confronted the kids who were harassing Jessie and even took Jessie's case to the prosecutor to see if he could press charges. But he said that because Jessie was 18, there were no laws to protect her. He said he'd like to work with the Logans to have the laws changed.
Cynthia says the fault doesn't only lie with the police, but also with the school."To have a nude photo being disseminated throughout the school of your child, how would you feel as a parent?” she asked. “Wouldn't you want other parents to know?"
Adrienne James, the superintendent for Sycamore Schools said letters were not sent out to parents, but that the district did address the cell phone problem at a parent’s night school forum.James also said no action was taken against the students because some attended school in a different district. She also explained that because Jessie took the picture at home and not on school property, there was little the school could do. #
No explanation can comfort Cynthia or her family. She believes Jessie took her life to escape the relentless teasing and feels like the people who were supposed to protect Jessie, failed her."The police department didn't protect her. The school didn't protect her. She had no one,” said Cynthia.Because Cynthia knows she can’t turn back the clock, she wants to change the laws. She says she wants “sexting” to stop and for the people involved to be held accountable.
Cynthia also wants every parent to know how dangerous this teenage trend is, so that no parent has to find their child the way she did or go on without them the way she must do now.