EXCLUSIVE: Josi was only 12 when a boy blackmailed her into handing over naked pictures to trade in a 'sextortion' ring - and even when he confessed 'there isn't a girl I don't have,' the school did nothing

  • Josi Harrison was blackmailed into handing over naked pictures to boy at her middle school when she was 12 - and the 'sextortion' went on after that
  • Parents knew nothing as she was sent bullying messages on app on her iPod which they did not know could receive texts 
  • When she told principal of the Clatskanie Middle and High School in Oregon he failed to act against gang and she believed she was the only victim 
  • It only ended when she was sexually assaulted by one of the ringleaders of the sextortion gang and he confessed possessing the pictures to police
  • School district has paid $75,000 each to Josi and two other girls in settlement of Title IX lawsuit brought over failure to protect girls
  • Jodi, now 16, says she wants people to be aware of dangers and tells Daily Mail Online: 'That's what I thought was normal.'

Josi Harrison was 12 when her nightmare began. She was changing in the girls' locker room when, out of the corner of her eye she saw two boys run out.

Two days later she received a text that made her stomach drop. The boys, two years her senior, said they had a nude picture of her and threatened to post it online if she didn't send them another. She was scared, confused and alone.

That text was the beginning of a two-year campaign of 'sextortion' and harassment that culminated in sexual assault and exploded into scandal when the truth emerged.

Because Josi was not, as she had thought, the only victim. She was one of at least 28 minor girls at Clatskanie Middle and High School, Oregon, targeted by a sextortion ring of 15 boys who blackmailed them into sending nude images then traded them 'like baseball cards.'

Josi has waived her anonymity and today speaks out in an exclusive interview with Daily Mail Online after a grueling legal case brought against Clatskanie School District by Josi and two other girls, victimized by the sextortion ring.

SCROLL DOWN TO HEAR JOSI DESCRIBE HER ORDEAL IN VIDEO INTERVIEW 

Speaking out: Josi Harrison has waived her right to anonymity to speak of the horror she endured when she was blackmailed into repeatedly sending naked pictures of herself to boys at her school

Speaking out: Josi Harrison has waived her right to anonymity to speak of the horror she endured when she was blackmailed into repeatedly sending naked pictures of herself to boys at her school

Promise: Talented athlete Josi Harrison aged 14 when she was on the high school softball team. But at the same time she was being relentlessly bullied by a group of boys

Promise: Talented athlete Josi Harrison aged 14 when she was on the high school softball team. But at the same time she was being relentlessly bullied by a group of boys

Sex offender: Jerrus Lumijarivi, now 19, was one of the ringleaders of the sextortion 'game'. In May 2011, Lumijarvi, older and stronger than Josi, dragged her to a gazebo and sexually assaulted her

Sex offender: Jerrus Lumijarivi, now 19, was one of the ringleaders of the sextortion 'game'. In May 2011, Lumijarvi, older and stronger than Josi, dragged her to a gazebo and sexually assaulted her

The district settled a case brought by the three under Title IX laws, agreeing to pay each girl $75,000. But for Josi it has never been about the money. It has been about 'affecting change.'

Because, across those two years of blackmail and duress she was driven to such despair she contemplated suicide. Yet the teachers charged with protecting her stood idly by in the face of her pleas for help – worse, one told her to 'suck it up.'

She said: 'For so long it's been bottled up and it's been a secret. But I want people to know about it. I want people to know that it happened and I'm sure that in other places it has happened, or is happening, or will happen and I don't want any other girl to go through what I went through for so long and feel alone and, even worse, maybe not have the same outcome.'

Now 16, time and her own bitter experience mean that Josi has lost the innocence of that 12-year-old seventh-grader who received that first fateful text.

Today she is speaking out but back then she could not conceive of doing anything other than keeping it a terrible, shameful secret.

Looking back, she explained: 'I didn't know how they would have nude pictures of me at first and then I realized maybe they got a picture when they were in the locker room.

'I was scared. They made you feel like everything was your fault and you needed to make it better and sending them pictures was the way to make it better.'

She was bombarded with texts – all of them sent to her iPod using a texting app to circumvent the watchful eye of her parents who checked her phone but had no clue that an iPod could be used for anything other than downloading music.

After several days of intense pressure her breaking point came when one of the boys threatened to kill himself if she didn't send an image.

She said: 'I didn't want that on my shoulders.' That was November 2010. She thought she had solved the problem. Instead it only got worse.

For the next three months Josi suffered in silence. But in February 2011 she steeled herself and tried to get help. She went to the school principal, Jeff Baughman and told him that she had been told that nude pictures were being shared between the boys.

At the time Josi was unaware that she was not the first girl to go to Mr Baughman and share this awful secret.

Josi recalled: 'He said he would handle it but I never heard back and nothing ever happened to the boys.'

Failure: The school district which oversees Clatskanlie Middle and High school - which has one campus - settled the legal case brought by Josi Harrison and two other victims of the sexploitation ring

Failure: The school district which oversees Clatskanlie Middle and High school - which has one campus - settled the legal case brought by Josi Harrison and two other victims of the sexploitation ring

Failure: When Josi went to Clatskanie Middle and High School's principal she felt he paid her lip service - but did nothing to punish the boys allegedly carrying out the sexploitation

Failure: When Josi went to Clatskanie Middle and High School's principal she felt he paid her lip service - but did nothing to punish the boys allegedly carrying out the sexploitation

The following month, increasingly desperate, Josi went back to the principal once more. Again, she said, he paid her lip service but again she saw no change in the boys' behavior and no punishment meted out.

At no point did Mr Baughman share the deeply troubling information brought to him by Josi with her parents though she was a minor at the time.

Day by day Josi's school life was becoming more and more blighted by bullying and sexual harassment. She couldn't walk down the halls, she said, without boys pointing at her or making rude comments.

One day in Physical Education one of the boys involved repeatedly smacked Josi on her backside.

Upset, she said: 'I went to the teacher and said I didn't appreciate it and wanted it to stop. He just said, 'Suck it up Harrison.'

To Josi that seemed to be the message loud and clear – she just had to suck it up. This was normal. Certainly, it was all she had ever known of middle and high school life.

NAKED PICTURES AND THE LAW 

Possessing a nude or sexually explicit image of a minor is a crime in and of itself.

Distributing or sharing that image is also a crime as is promoting (the act of taking the picture) or coercing or soliciting such a picture.

A teenager who takes a naked picture of themselves and sends it to another teen has technically created child pornography and committed three felony crimes.

A teen who receives such a picture can be charged with possession and, if they send it to anyone else, distribution.

Sextortion is one of the more recent trends associated with teenage sexting and is the practice of using a teen’s explicit photograph against the teen to extort more pictures or sexual favours.

If convicted, a sextortionist would most likely face the felony charges of coercing, possession and, if they have shared the image, distribution – charges which would require the teenager to register as a sex offender and could see them serve time in a juvenile detention center or under home arrest.

In the notorious case of the Steubenville rape where a group of high school boys raped and took explicit pictures of a catastrophically drunk 16-year-old girl then shared and posted them online, one of the two boys convicted of the rape faced the additional charge of disseminating child pornography.

On March 17 March 2013 both Ma’lik Richmond, then 16, and Trent Mays, then 17, received a mandated minimum sentence of one year in juvenile detention for the rape. But Mays received an additional year as he was found guilty of sharing the images and was convicted of dissemination of child pornography.

Later it was suggested to her that if she felt uncomfortable she could sit out physical education classes.

At CMHS there was, she said, a pervasive attitude that the male athletes could do no wrong. They ruled the school and they did what they wanted with impunity – all of the boys in the sextortion ring were athletes.

Girls were regularly branded 'sluts' and 'whores.' In that toxic environment Josi not only thought that what she was experiencing was 'normal.' She thought she deserved it.

She said: 'It felt like I was punished for what they did and what the school didn't want to do.

'Now it's amazing to me. How can you know that this is going on and not want to stop it? Or not want to try to stop it and just continue to allow it to happen?'

One boy, she said, in particular had taken to following Josi around the school corridors, or coming into her classes and spuriously claiming another teacher wanted to see her then hassling her in the halls.

That boy was Jerrus Lumijarvi. Two months after her second attempt to get help from the principal Josi was with a friend at Clatskanie City Park when she bumped into Lumijarvi – one of the ringleaders of the sextortion 'game.'

On 6 May 2011 the 'game' became horribly physical as Lumijarvi, older and stronger than Josi, dragged her to the secluded gazebo and sexually assaulted her.

Josi managed to escape but, traumatized and cowed by months of bullying, she did not immediately report the attack.

It would later emerge that Mr Baughman had had a report from another student that Lumijarvi had molested her in class a full year before Josi was attacked. Other than telling Lumijarvi to stay away from the girl Mr Baughman took no further action and Lumijarvi's behavior continued to escalate unchecked.

Support: Josi Harrison, left, and her mother Annie. She did not tell her parents of her ordeal until after she was sexually assaulted by Lumijarivi

Support: Josi Harrison, left, and her mother Annie. She did not tell her parents of her ordeal until after she was sexually assaulted by Lumijarivi

Crime scene: The small logging town of Clatskanie, Oregon, which is 60 miles north-west of Portland.

Crime scene: The small logging town of Clatskanie, Oregon, which is 60 miles north-west of Portland.

It wasn't until 11 days after the attack that Josi told anybody what had happened. She said: 'After the attack happened I didn't go to school, or I would go and then call my mom and say, 'I have to go home, I can't be here.'

'My mom asked me about it on the way to school [one day] and I kind of almost hinted but I never came out and said, 'Yes this happened.' Then later that day I decided I was going to tell our counselor. So I told her and I walked out of her office because she had to make a couple of phone calls and Jerrus was sitting right there.

'I went into instant panic mode. I ran. Our school nurse found me and I was bawling and shaking. Mom came to the school. I was a wreck.

'All at once, boom, everything about the attack started coming out.'

On 17 May 2011 Josi's mother, Annie, 39, went to the police and filed a report. According to Josi the police 'didn't seem that surprised' by the complaint.

Little wonder – in 2009 they had received a complaint that Lumijarvi had assaulted another minor student at CMHS. No action was taken.

This time, according to Annie, the police seemed to stall her at every turn. She said: 'I called every week to check on the progress of the investigation and it seemed that there was always something else that was their priority.'

The local police initially handed the case over to State police to investigate due to a conflict of interest but to this day quite who was in charge of the investigation is unclear even to the Harrison's attorney as, at some point, local police asked the state police to leave.

In the small logging town of Clatskanie, with a population of 1000, everybody is either related to or knows everybody. The small town bonds and vendettas run strong and date back decades.

Lumijarvi's brother-in-law, Alex Stone, is one of Clatskanie's four police officers. Today, Annie can't help but wonder if that influenced the lackadaisical attitude she detected in their dealing with her daughter's complaint.

None of the other alleged members of the sextortion ring have been held accountable. Their names cannot be published because they are underage.

Ousted: Former Clatskanie high school principal Jeff Baughman. He was suspended on administrative leave as the scandal of the school's inaction became clear

Ousted: Former Clatskanie high school principal Jeff Baughman. He was suspended on administrative leave as the scandal of the school's inaction became clear

Inaction: Josi Harrison and her mother believe the four-strong local police force did not do enough to deal with her ordeal. Lumivarji's brother-in-law is on the force

Inaction: Josi Harrison and her mother believe the four-strong local police force did not do enough to deal with her ordeal. Lumivarji's brother-in-law is on the force

Similarly several of the boys alleged to be members of the sextortion ring – none of whom have ever been held accountable – are well connected in the small town. 

One is a relative of the former City Council President, as well as his personal connection to the town's police force, Lumijarvi's mother, Sherri, runs a local flower and coffee shop that serves as the town's social hub.

In sharp contrast, having only lived in Clatskanie for 12 years the Harrisons were still considered 'outsiders.'

Lumijarvi was charged by the Clatskanie district attorney with attempted rape in August 2011 – a full three months after the attack. And had it not been for the attack the truth about the sextortion ring might never have emerged.

State police investigators have told Josi's attorney, Amber Lunsford, that when they visited Lumijarvi to question him about the assault in May he assumed they were there about the pictures and immediately confessed to having more than 300 nude images of girls.

In a lengthy statement he told them that 'there wasn't a girl he didn't have.'

Josi said: 'When I found out it was a game it was sickening, it really was.'

Yet soon after his confession local police asked the State police to leave. Oregon law gives local police forces primary jurisdiction.

It wasn't until August that some – not all – of the Lumijarvi family's computers were sent by local police to a crime lab to be searched. 

One image of an unidentified minor female was found but charges were not pursued.

For Josi life at school remained hellish. She said: 'People didn't believe me. They thought I was crazy and it led to me getting shoved into lockers. I came home with bruises all along my back.'

She developed a heart condition due to the stress and had to undergo surgery to correct it.

Sports culture: Clatskanie Middle and High School has the Tigers as its sports team. Josi Harrison believes the culture in the school was that male athletes - Lumivarji was one - could do no wrong

Sports culture: Clatskanie Middle and High School has the Tigers as its sports team. Josi Harrison believes the culture in the school was that male athletes - Lumivarji was one - could do no wrong

Defiant: Jerrus Lumijarvi smiles in his social network profile
One of the other boys alleged to be involved in the sexploitation ring poses for a selfie

Defiant: Jerrus Lumijarvi smiles in his social network profile, while one of the other boys alleged to be involved in the sexploitation ring poses for a selfie 

Prey: Another of the boys alleged to be part of the sexploitation posted this picture of himself and a female friend on a hunting trip. Apart from Lumivarji, all of the boys are anonymous because they are under 18

Prey: Another of the boys alleged to be part of the sexploitation posted this picture of himself and a female friend on a hunting trip. Apart from Lumivarji, all of the boys are anonymous because they are under 18

She explained: 'I had to wear a heart monitor and my heart would go up to 250 in my sleep. I'd have nightmares. Just sitting it would escalate and it felt like I was having a heart attack.'

She jumped at the slightest physical contact – her parents found they could no longer hug her without warning her first.

Meanwhile she said: 'The boys around me told me it was my fault it had happened because I sent the pictures.

'Teachers weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing. It was almost like it was a hassle for them to deal with what was going on.

'Before the attack Jerrus would come into my classroom and follow me around. After the attack the same thing happened and I just didn't feel safe. I felt like I couldn't be protected even with the principal and staff members knowing what had happened.'

Josi's family had got a court protective order prohibiting Lumijarvi from having any contact with their daughter. But, Annie said, when she spoke with the principal about this order he told her that he couldn't share the information with other teachers because it would be 'a violation of Jerrus's privacy.'

The situation reached a head on the day of the home coming football game. Josi noticed that the mascot – a tiger – was following her around and thought it weird.

She said: 'I went to go mess with the mascot and one of my friends grabbed me and said, "Don't you dare do that. That's Jerrus." And my heart sank. It was my attacker in disguise.'

She later learned that the principal had allowed Lumijarvi to wear the mascot uniform.

For Josi's parents that was the final straw. They took her out of school and sent her to a charter school. It meant she suffered academically as the straight A student could only enroll in a credit recovery program but as far as they were concerned they had no choice if they were to protect their child.

In October 2011 Lumijarvi was transferred to Rainier High School. The school was not informed of Lumijarvi's history of sexual harassment nor of the multiple complaints against him of which principal Jeff Baughman was aware.

In September 2012 Josi decided to return to CMHS. In spite of everything she didn't want to be isolated in the small town. The decision was misguided.

She struggled to get out of bed, she said. She often didn't want to go to school at all. She felt despair.

Survivor: Josi Harrison has been scarred by her ordeal. 'I still have trouble trusting people. I have a few friends and that's about it. I don't go on Facebook. I have one social media account that I use,' she says

Survivor: Josi Harrison has been scarred by her ordeal. 'I still have trouble trusting people. I have a few friends and that's about it. I don't go on Facebook. I have one social media account that I use,' she says

Lost promise: Josi Harrison should have had a happy time in her middle school and instead was the victim of sexploitation and sexual assault

Lost promise: Josi Harrison should have had a happy time in her middle school and instead was the victim of sexploitation and sexual assault

On her lowest day, she recalled, 'I hadn't gone to school. It was a pretty rough day and I got a text from one of my supposed friends at the time telling me how I'm a terrible friend and a liar and I should just go kill myself and I deserved everything that's happened to me.'

It would have been enough to break many. But something inside of Josi began to shift. Six weeks into her freshman year she was shoved into a locker and she knew in that instant that it had happened for the last time.

She marched to the principal's office, stood before his desk and told him, 'I am never coming back here. Don't expect me to be here tomorrow.' Then she called her mom and said, 'Come get me.'

Josi explained: 'It just kind of lit a fire in me. I said, 'This isn't right. It should be like this and I think that day was the deciding day for me that there needs to be a change. I was 14 years old.'

 'I hadn't gone to school. It was a pretty rough day and I got a text from one of my supposed friends at the time telling me how I'm a terrible friend and a liar and I should just go kill myself and I deserved everything that's happened to me

In January 2013 Jerrus Lumijarvi entered into a plea bargain to have attempted rape charges reduced to three charges of sexual assault and public indecency to which he pled no contest. He is on probation and avoided having to register as a sex offender as a result though he is currently still receiving sex offender treatment.

Principal Baughman who had been placed on paid administrative leave during the civil suit has resigned and CMHS has implemented new guidelines and procedures for dealing with bullying and sexual harassment.

Josi said: 'I still get angry. It makes me so mad I just want to fix it.'

Today Josi and her family live more than a hundred miles from Clatskanie, in central Oregon. She has started afresh.

But it has taken her until now to really start to believe that not all high schools are like Clatskanie was during those dark days.

She said: 'I still have trouble trusting people. I have a few friends and that's about it. I don't go on Facebook. I have one social media account that I use.

'It took me about two years to actually understand that that's not how people act and that it's not okay. That's what I knew happened at school That's what I thought was normal.'

Now, she said: 'I'm glad I can share my story with other people so that they hopefully have the courage to come forward with their stories.

'I started out so low – I mean I hardly got out of bed and now I'm always going and doing things. I'm going to movies. I'm going to the lake. I'm having fun. I'm being a teenager and I felt like I lost a lot of that.'

When approached by Daily Mail Online neither Jerrus Lumijarvi nor Mr Baughman would comment on the record.

 

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