Oregon teen’s family sues 15 over ‘sextortion’

Josi Harrison, seen in a photo from 7th grade, was bullied into sexting. She and her family are now suing five minors and 10 adults in a sextortion case, June 26, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Josi Harrison, seen in a photo from seventh grade, says she was bullied into sexting. She and her family are now suing five minors and 10 adults in a sextortion case, June 26, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Allegedly bullied into sexting, an Oregon teenager said the stress led to a heart condition and forced her family to move away. Now they’re suing five minors and 10 adults for more than $2 million.

When Josi Harrison was just 12, she lived in Clatskanie with her parents. She told KOIN 6 News by phone it began in September 2010 when her boyfriend pressured her to send him nude photos of herself.

“He told me if I didn’t send the pictures I wasn’t a good girlfriend and he would just kill himself,” she said.

So she did, but that decision would soon haunt her. Other boys joined in.

Cell phone (file)Their lawsuit claims at least two others threatened Josi and said they would circulate the nude pictures her boyfriend had unless she sent more.

In May 2011, Josi said one of the boys attacked her in a park and tried to rape her.

“It got to the point where I just wouldn’t go to school,” the teen said. “I wouldn’t sleep at night. I had nightmares.”

“The harassment was continuous and ongoing,” said her attorney, Amber Lunsford. She said school officials were notified of the harassment but the principal of Claskanie Middle High School never followed up.

“He never told Josi what happened,” Lunsford said. “He never told her he reprimanded the boys. He never, they weren’t expelled. They weren’t suspended. She saw no repercussions.”

She also said parents of the boys named in the suit did nothing to prevent further harassment, such as monitor their social media accounts.

Eventually, Josi’s family moved away. She had heart surgery, but now said she’s ready to move forward with the lawsuit and her life.

“I just want other girls to see what can happen from it,” she said.

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