Three high school students have been suspended for a sexually explicit photo sent out over social media last week that depicts two of the students, who are brothers and star athletes at Edmonds-Woodway, having sex with a freshman girl.
The photo was taken months ago, but surfaced after a senior at King's High School, a private Christian School in Shoreline, allegedly tweeted it Wednesday evening.
One user responded to the photo saying that Twitter had reached a "new level" that night. Another user said they "felt bad" for the girl in the photo, while another said he felt bad for the brothers who were kicked out of school. One user said the photo was the "funniest" thing he'd ever seen.
"You all should go to church more," one user replied.
The image shows the brothers, one a 17-year-old junior and the other an 18-year-old senior at Edmonds-Woodway, having sex with a classmate who is believed to be 15 years old, according to the Edmonds Police Department.
A spokesperson for Edmonds-Woodway High School could not comment on the incident except to say it is being "taken seriously." The school notified police Thursday after the photograph was brought to their attention.
"We want to reassure parents that we have heard of allegations and we are continuing to look into it," said DJ Jakala, community relations manager for the Edmonds School District.
The school could not comment on discipline against the two boys in the photo, but two sources familiar with the incident said the teens have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
Eric Rasmussen, superintendent of King's Schools, said the student accused of tweeting the photo has been suspended until more information about the incident is available. An attorney for that student's parents had no comment about the incident Monday.
A concerned parent, who contacted KIRO Radio about the photograph, expressed outrage over reaction to the photo and tweet. The parent said some students have praised the boys for their sexual prowess.
"Boys around the school think it is pretty cool, what the boys were able to accomplish with the threesome," said the parent, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. "It's disgusting. It's hurtful, because don't those boys have sisters?"
The photo is believed to have been taken using a smartphone application called "Snapchat." Using the application, a photo can be taken and sent to another user, but disappears just seconds after it is viewed. However, users can get around the application's function by taking a screen grab of the image to save it.
"That poor girl didn't even know the picture was being taken," the parent said. "It's one thing if she said, ‘Hey, it's ok for us to do this act,' but for the boy to take the picture? That's horrific. She needs to know that she's loved, that she's got a chance in life."
Edmonds Police Sgt. Mark Marsh said detectives will determine whether the girl was of legal age to consent to sex at the time of the incident and whether the photo could be considered child pornography under state statute. It is a Class C felony to distribute or possess a photo that depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
All three teenagers are nude in the photo, but it does not actually show genitalia, Sgt. Marsh said.