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Nation in brief: Youths were asked for online porn

The Spokesman-Review

Four percent of American youths online have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo of themselves over the Internet, researchers say in a new study.

Of the 65 youths in the study who reported receiving a request, only one actually complied. But researchers say that’s still a troubling number: With millions of youths online, that projects to potentially thousands across the country.

“One of the things we really need to start doing is talk to kids more directly and informing them of the criminal implications of this type of thing, encouraging them to be aware of these situations and to report them,” said Kimberly J. Mitchell, a research professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center.

She said youths engaging in such behavior, not just the people making the requests, are potentially violating child-pornography laws.

Mitchell said kids also may not be aware of how quickly such photos can circulate, mistakenly thinking the image is only for the personal use of the requester.

The study, based on telephone surveys of 1,500 Internet users ages 10 to 17, was being published today in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Washington

Vandals smash parked Hummer

Vandals smashed the windows of a new Hummer parked in a neighborhood, slashed the tires and left a message – “FOR THE ENVIRON” – scratched into the body, authorities said.

The sport utility vehicle was parked for five days on the street before two masked men attacked it.

“The thought of somebody vandalizing it never crossed my mind,” said Gareth Groves, who lives near American University in Northwest Washington. “I’ve kind of been in shock.”

Police said they see small acts of vandalism in the area from time to time, but they have not seen anything so severe, or with such a clear political message, in recent years.

Investigators said they are searching for the vandals but don’t have many leads. Witnesses said they saw two men smash up the 7-foot-tall SUV early Monday and then run off.

Now, as Groves contemplates what to do with the remains of his $38,000 Hummer, he has had to deal with a number of people who have driven by the crime scene and glared at him in smug satisfaction.

“I’d say one in five people who come by have that ‘you-got-what-you-deserve’ look,” said his friend Andy Sexton.

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