DA: High School Senior ‘Catfished’ 130-Plus Male Students To Receive Explicit Photos, Videos

By Anita Oh and David Spunt

MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — A high school senior is accused of impersonating a teenage girl to get male students to send him explicit photos and videos.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced felony charges Thursday against 18-year-old Derrick Jones of Glenolden.

Those charges include possession of child pornography, harassment, and stalking.

The probable cause affidavit mentions five victims, but authorities say more charges are likely as the affidavit outlines disturbing allegations against Jones, who essentially “catfished” more than 130 male students in the area by creating a fake persona in order to receive explicit photos and videos, then blackmailing them when they threatened to cut off contact.

“Everyone was talking about it in school and very shocked because they didn’t expect this from him,” said neighbor Brianna Lane. “He was just talking about going to his senior prom last week.”

Authorities say using stolen photos of a real teenager from out-of-town, the now suspended Monsignor Bonner High School senior posed online as a brunette teenager named “Haley” for years.

By also using photos stolen from pornographic websites, Jones allegedly sent those explicit photos to other teens through social media under the usernames “Yelahvibez” and “Vibelah” in order to receive nude photos and videos from male students in the area.

“His intent, we believe, is for sexual gratification,” Whelan said in a press conference.

Eyewitness News tried to speak with Jones’ family at their home on Thursday but no one came to the door.

Whelan says Jones also blackmailed students into sending more images by threatening to publicize the ones already in his possession. Some of his reported victims were in middle school when the contact with “Haley” began.

In one instance, Whelan says Jones created a fake profile on Instagram in the victim’s image after that male refused further contact. Jones then allegedly shared the victim’s explicit photos with that person’s father, sister, aunt, and other family members.

“He doesn’t stop there,” Whelan said.

In November 2016, through a search warrant, authorities also found multiple electronic devices and a hard drive at Jones’ home.

That hard drive included 136 separate folders organized alphabetically by the name of each male student depicted, in addition to a 137th folder titled, “Forgotten Names.”

“Those are named he had forgotten,” Whelan said. “Inside that folder was a whole host of other teenage boys that are labeled and have been identified as child pornography.”

So far, Whelan says investigators have identified more than 60 of the victims and are asking those who believe they may have been victimized to contact detectives.

He urges parents to have serious discussions with their children and to monitor their use of social media.

“Just do not send these types of pictures to anybody out there,” he said. “Make sure you know who they’re talking to and what kinds of photos are being shared.”

In a statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia called the charges “deeply disturbing,” and added, “The Archdiocesan commitment to the prevention of child abuse is an ongoing one… We will continue to do all that we can to assist our young people in utilizing technology in a manner that will minimize their exposure to dangerous situations.”

A judge set $50,000 bail for Jones of which he needs to post 10 percent, which his family is reportedly working to arrange.

Those who wish to file a report are urged to contact Detective Sgt. Kenneth Bellis of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division at (610) 891-4717.

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