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« Will Christopher Dudus Coke be Extradited? | Main | Teens Waive Right to Hearing »

Parents Sue over Teen Sexting Suicide


Jessica Logan, 18, committed suicide on July, 3, 2008, one month after graduating from high school. Her parents Cynthia and Albert Logan filed suit in the U.S. Distr ict Court, Ohio on 12/2/09 against SYCAMORE COMMUNITY SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION, Police Officer PAUL PAYNE, CITY OF MONTGOMERY and five other individuals.

This action challenges the severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive harassment that Sycamore Community Schools and Montgomery Police Officer Paul Payne permitted against high school student Jessica Logan before her death. Jessica was continually harassed by students at Sycamore High School and by the named Defendant students, who maliciously circulated a nude photo of her and tormented her with degrading sexual insults. 

Jessica Logan attended Sycamore High School from 2004 to 2008. She had a boyfriend, Ryan Salyers. During her senior year at school, using her cellphone she took, and sent to Ryan, a picture of herself, naked from the neck down. Shortly afterward she and Ryan broke up.

Ryan Salyers, after the break up, texted the naked picture of Jessica to: Sarah Jane Ramsey, Courtney Richardson, Emily Stachler and a minor known only as "A.R." all of whom distributed the photo widely among their friends at Sycamore High and Loveland High School.

When Jessica learned that her picture was the topic of conversation throughout the school, she was "devastated and humiliated." Accompanied by a friend she went to the school's counselor office. They were told to report the matter to the School Resource Officer, Paul Payne.

Officer Payne spoke to the individuals involved in the texting and asked them to delete the picture. Instead of doing so, they contacted Jessica and let her know that they were going to "escalate the level of harassment" because she reported them. That is exactly what happened.

Students began to refer to Jessica as a whore, slut and skank. She received text messages, phone calls and MySpace messages denigrating her character. She was tormented in school and outside as well. Some students even took to throwing objects at her. She reported all this once again to Officer Payne, who said there was nothing he could do about it.

Jessica began to skip school, prompting the school to send truancy notes to her parents. Her grades suffered and she was in danger of not being able to graduate. She did however manage to complete her studies and graduated on June 1, 2008. The harassment did not stop.

Students threw objects at Jessica during Sycamore’s graduation and at graduation parties, slurred her and hurled sexual epithets at her when she attended graduation parties, and continued to harass her by phone and online.

On July 3, 2008 Jessica attended the funeral of a friend who had committed suicide. When she returned home Jessica hanged herself in her bedroom.


Last fall, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed teens and young adults about sexting — sending sexually charged material via cell phone text messages — or posting such materials online. The results revealed that 39 percent of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages, and 48 percent reported receiving such messages. 

After her daughter’s death, Cynthia Logan quit her job and was hospitalized for a time with what she described as a mental breakdown. Still grieving over the loss of her daughter, she said she is taking her story public to warn kids about the dangers of sending sexually charged pictures and messages to boyfriends and girlfriends.


“She was vivacious. She was fun. She was artistic. She was compassionate. She was a good kid,” said Cynthia Logan of her deceased daughter.


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. 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? The police department didn't protect her. The school didn't protect her. She had no one,” said Cynthia.


Sexting is a growing problem that has resulted in child pornography charges being filed against some teens across the nation. Montgomery police have charged one teenage boy who sent a racy video to other students. 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. In Warren county a new law specifically targeting sexting has been proposed.

Why is sexting so popular among teens? One teen explained it this way:


"It's like a digital trophy, proving that you did something or you got someone to show you something personal of theirs and you can parade it around and make sure everyone knows. And it's more satisfying than word of mouth," said one teenager, who did not want to be identified.


In a survey conducted by MTV and the Associated Press more than three-quarters of respondents recognized that digital abuse was a serious problem in the youth culture but at the same time they were only mildly concerned about the risks and consequences from such behavior. Only half of the respondents gave thought to the idea that information or images they posted online could negatively affect them later.

One person who knows first hand how sexting could have a negative effect is Cynthia Logan; it cost her the life of her only child, Jessie Logan.




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