POLICE have been forced to intervene after false allegations that local young people engaged in acts of bestiality swept across social media websites over the past week.
The false allegations, accompanied by graphic pornographic videos, include in some cases the name and address of a child as young as 13. It comes just weeks after two Irish schoolgirls took their own lives after being subjected to vicious campaigns of cyberbullying.
Erin Gallagher (13) from Donegal took her own life on October 27 after she was subjected to a bullying campaign on the controversial ask.fm website.
Her death came just one month after 15-year-old Ciara Pugsley took her own life near her home in Dromahair, Co Leitrim.
The schoolgirl, whose mother Agnes (nee Flanagan), is originally from Omagh, was viciously bullied on the same website.
Fears have now been expressed in Tyrone after young teenagers, including a schoolgirl as young as 13, were named alongside extremely graphic pornographic videos posted on social media sites last week.
The Ulster Herald understands that there are up to 16 videos along with photographs being circulated by young people locally, with at least one video featuring sex acts with a dog.
On Monday police in the county took the unprecedented step of stating publicly that the allegations are completely falsified.
“These allegations are false and have caused a great deal of distress to the young people who have been named,” said a PSNI spokesperson. “Our enquires have revealed that the offensive material did not originate in Northern Ireland.”
The PSNI have confirmed that the issue was also discussed with local students this week during planned visits to local secondary schools.
Stephen Sweeney a co-ordinator for the Young Adult Leadership Programme (YALP) in Omagh revealed that the developments bore shockingly similar characteristics to the tragic case of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian schoolgirl, who took her own life on September 10 after a campaign of cyberbullying through Facebook.
A YouTube video telling her story, posted by the schoolgirl three days before her death, has now been viewed by millions of people. The video recalled her story of being blackmailed over pictures she was tricked into posing for as a 12-year-old. It also recounts her harrowing experience of bullying and being physically assaulted.
The video uploaded by Canadian schoolgirl Amanda Todd telling her agonising story just three days before her death. The video has now been viewed by millions.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald on Monday, Stephen revealed that the videos have been the topic of conversation among local teenagers since last week, but that adults were among those circulating the name and location of a child in connection with the videos.
“There were adults putting up the name of a 13-year-old girl online,” he said. “If tomorrow they turned around and seen in the news that a 13-year-old girl had killed herself, would any of them feel guilty?”
He continued, “It was ironic that just weeks before, the young people I work with had done a session on the Amanda Todd case. I was reading some of the comments by other young people on Facebook and thought, this is just the same thing.
“Some young people were saying ‘I hope she dies’. This young person is going to be reading that, whether it was them involved or not. It is a very similar situation to that faced by Amanda Todd.”
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