Edmonds police learned of the picture last week, Sgt. Mark Marsh said Tuesday.
Investigators believe three teens from Edmonds-Woodway High School, two boys and a girl, were engaged in a sex act when one of the boys took a picture.
A friend of the boys later posted the picture to Twitter, a social media site.
The boys involved are 17 and 18. The girl is 15, Marsh said.
Preliminary reports say the sexual activity was consensual, but police still are early in their investigation, he said.
The case has been assigned to a detective who specializes in investigating sex crimes. The detective must determine who all was involved in the incident and to what degree, Marsh said. It’s not clear yet who had access to the picture and who posted it to the Internet and where.
Detectives from other police departments may join the investigation depending on the evidence.
The picture was posted in late 2012 or early this year, Marsh said. School officials called police last week after learning about what happened.
The school district and the police are working closely together on the case, Marsh said. No arrests have been made.
At this point, the detective still is conducting interviews, he said.
Cases involving minors creating and sharing sexually explicit photos of themselves and others have become more common with the growing popularity of social media, Marsh said.
It’s not yet clear if this case involves a crime such as possessing or trafficking in child pornography, he said. Both of those offenses generally are felonies under state law.
The picture did not show the teens’ genitalia, he said.
Police also still must determine the ages of those involved at the time of the incidents and whether laws were broken regarding the age of consent in Washington, Marsh said.
All students involved so far have cooperated with the investigation, he said.
The school district has taken some “disciplinary actions,” but could not release additional details, spokeswoman DJ Jakala said Tuesday.
The incidents in question happened off school grounds and not during school hours, she said.
“In this instance, we are limited in our jurisdiction,” she said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
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