LUBBOCK, TX - Federal investigators are warning Facebook users to stop sharing a video depicting child pornography.
Authorities said users have been sharing the video, claiming to help catch the perpetrator, but they say that is exactly the opposite of what they recommend.
The video depicts a minor performing a sex act on an adult, and it has been circulating nationwide.
Officials said the best thing to do is report the post to the social media outlet. Also, call law enforcement immediately, but do not share the post or video with the law enforcement agency. They also want to remind users they could be charged with a felony.
LPD gave this statement, in part:
"People should never download, save or share illicit photos or videos depicting child pornography. Even if their intentions are to bring awareness or justice for the victim, sharing the videos or photos could do more harm than good, and it is illegal. By sharing child pornography or having it saved to your phone or computer, you could be charged with possession of child pornography or distribution of child pornography."
Lubbock-based organization Voice of Hope helps victims of sexual abuse and sex-trafficking, working closely with local law enforcement.
Voice of Hope Prevention Director Leslie Timmons said the best way to help is not perpetuate the video or image.
"You know, obviously, this event has already happened, and they've already been victimized," Timmons said. "But any time you share a post like that, or forward a post like that, or watch a post like that, you are re-victimizing that person over and over again. So it should really stop with you."
"Anything you see on social media, you have to realize that this is a real person. This is somebody's sister or brother or child, and it happens it real life," Timmons said.
Investigators in Alabama are looking into the case.
"You're disseminating child porn, and that's a felony. If you are in possession of it, no matter your good intentions, that is also a felony," Madison County Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann said. "So in this case, it's very disturbing that people feel like it's OK to post something awful happening to a child on social media."
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