PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. - The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is investigating how 80 young boys were pressured to send nude photos of themselves to a 17-year-old Cookeville boy.
Detective Roger Cooper with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office is investigating a "sexting" story that has shocked an entire community.
"It could include sexual talk. It usually includes sexual talk and pictures," said Cooper
He says a 17-year-old out of Cookeville, served as the alleged "middle man" getting 80 young boys from 11 to 17-years-old to engage in sexual conversations and send nude photos.
The boys thought they were sending the photos and texts to a girl, but that never happened.
Instead the 17-year-old used previous conversations and photos as leverage for the boys to send more photos. If they didn't, he would tell the young girl's parents and police.
Cooper explained why some kids are hesitant to tell.
"An underage person who sent pictures of themselves, first of all, don't want mom and dad to find out about it and second of all, don't want to get in trouble with the law," said Cooper.
Lisa Dupree with 'Our Kids Center' who helps kids and families deal with sexual abuse said there is a huge responsibility that comes along with providing kids with a cell phone and access to the world.
"They have to be able to tell their kids this is what could happen," said Dupree. "The minute you send something you loose control over this information or this picture."
Because minors are involved, there is only so much detectives could share with us. Detective Cooper said the texting could have started as early as 2008.
The sheriff's office only found out after three of the teens came forward around Halloween.
The 17-year-old who solicited the photos has been arrested and faces charges of with three counts of extortion and three counts of harassment and detectives say other charges are pending.