Union high schooler arrested for taking, tweeting picture of student using school bathroom

TULSA - A Tulsa teen is accused of tweeting exposing pictures of a mentally challenged student.

Jonathan David Devito, 18, now faces charges of manufacturing and distributing child pornography.

According to investigators, Devito used his cell phone to take a picture of a 16-year-old mentally challenged student while the student was using a urinal. Investigators say the victim's pants were around his ankles and he didn't know he was being photographed.

"How do you think that's funny at all? Like something is wrong with you if you think it's OK to pop out your phone when someone is using the bathroom,"  said Carissa Ford, Union High School senior.

After taking the picture, investigators say Devito tweeted it.

Upset students alerted school officials who then called the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

"You've got an 18-year-old now that has made a terrible error in judgment and this could potentially affect his life from here on out and then you have a 16-year-old that was victimized that had no idea he was being victimized," said Major Shannon Clark with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

The Union School District released this statement:

At Union we take the safety and dignity of our students very seriously.  When we were made aware of an incident at the high school, we immediately took steps to protect the well-being of our students.

Investigators say that Devito thought it was a joke.

"You have to realize that picture potentially could go worldwide so you wonder how many predators are out there getting gratification from seeing a picture that was transmitted as a hoax or some type of joke," said Clark.

It's a story that's getting a lot of buzz from the community and the sheriff's office is taking this investigation very seriously.

"On this side of law enforcement, if we don't do enough we get criticized, if we do too much, we get criticized," Clark said.

Ford says it's important Devito is punished.

"I think they need to realize that social media, once you put a picture on there is questionable, you really need to be careful about what you do," Ford said.

The sheriff's office will turn over its findings to the district attorney's office. It will be up to that office to decide what charges are filed.   

Meanwhile, Devito was released from jail around 6:45 p.m. Thursday.  His attorney released the following statement on behalf of Devito's parents:

The parents of Jonathon DeVito are devastated at the arrest of their son.  Eighteen by only a month, he left for school Wednesday morning as usual and before the day was over, ended up in the Tulsa Jail charged with four felonies.

Jonathon is an excellent student at Union High School with a GPA of 3.7, taking AP and college courses, scheduled to graduate in May, 2013.  He participates in student government, leadership, track and cross country.  He is further active in his church and youth group.

The family will fully cooperate with the District Attorney's office in the resolution of this matter.   The family does not think that the quick filing of four felony counts is appropriate for what appears to be, at most, youthful indiscretion.  The family wants to make it very clear that their son had no idea that anyone involved was handicapped in any way and absolutely meant him no harm.  They look forward to a speedy and fair resolution of this unfortunate matter.

Joel A. LaCourse, Esq.
Law Firm of Stoops & LaCourse

Print this article Back to Top