Three Michigan teenagers have been accused of catfishing a high school teacher by pretending to be a 35-year-old woman on a dating profile to obtain his nude photos, authorities said.
The perpetrators of the scheme – all between ages of 14 and 15 – duped the unnamed educator into thinking they were a woman interested in a romantic relationship with him by uploading random photos from the internet, according to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Monday.
Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Charon told News 8 that the teens sent the unsuspecting teacher unsolicited nude images of the bogus woman, and he then reciprocated by sharing with them sexually explicit photos and videos of himself.
The teens, who Charon said do not attend the school at Gobles School District where the teacher is employed, later shared the X-rated material with others, including the teacher’s students.
According to officials, two of the teens knew the teacher because he was their driver’s education instructor, and they were possibly planning to blackmail him for an unknown reason.
But Charon said that the teens did not carry out the purported shakedown.
The teacher is not suspected of any wrongdoing because Charon said he did not know he had sent the nudes to teenagers until the sheriff’s office contacted him this week.
“He was doing something he thought was between consenting adults,” Charon said. “All of a sudden, now, this guy is basically all over the news for something that he thought was doing something in private with another consenting adult.”
The three teens and their families were said to be cooperating with the investigation.
The Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the high schoolers after the sheriff’s investigation wraps up.
In Michigan, impersonating another person is in itself not a crime.