Friday, March 06, 2009

Jesse Logan

Her teen committed suicide over ‘sexting’
Cynthia Logan’s daughter was taunted about photo she sent to boyfriend

The image was blurred and the voice distorted, but the words spoken by a young Ohio woman are haunting. She had sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to other high school girls. The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.

And now Jesse Logan was going on a Cincinnati television station to tell her story. Her purpose was simple: “I just want to make sure no one else will have to go through this again.”

The interview was in May 2008. Two months later, Jessica Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.

(March 6: 18-year-old Jesse Logan took her own life after a nude picture of her was passed around by e-mail. TODAY’s Matt Lauer talks to her mom, Cynthia Logan, and Internet safety expert Parry Aftab about the dangers of “sexting.”)

Conveying the message
“She was vivacious. She was fun. She was artistic. She was compassionate. She was a good kid,” the young woman’s mother, Cynthia Logan, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Friday in New York. Still grieving over the loss of her daughter, she said she is taking her story public to warn kids about the dangers of sending sexually charged pictures and messages to boyfriends and girlfriends.

“It’s very, very difficult. She’s my only child,” Logan told Lauer. “I’m trying my best to get the message out there.”

It is a growing problem that has resulted in child pornography charges being filed against some teens across the nation. But for Cynthia Logan, “sexting” is about more than possibly criminal activity: It’s about life and death.

Last fall, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed teens and young adults about sexting — sending sexually charged material via cell phone text messages — or posting such materials online. The results revealed that 39 percent of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages, and 48 percent reported receiving such messages.

‘She was being tortured’
Jesse Logan’s mother said she never knew the full extent of her daughter’s anguish until it was too late. Cynthia Logan only learned there was a problem at all when she started getting daily letters from her daughter’s school reporting that the young woman was skipping school.

“I only had snapshots, bits and pieces, until the very last semester of school,” Logan told Lauer.

After her picture was disseminated electonically, formerly upbeat Jesse Logan began skipping classes.

She took away her daughter’s car and drove her to school herself, but Jesse still skipped classes. She told her mother there were pictures involved and that a group of younger girls who had received them were harassing her, calling her vicious names, even throwing objects at her. But she didn’t realize the full extent of her daughter’s despair.

“She was being attacked and tortured,” Logan said.

“When she would come to school, she would always hear, ‘Oh, that’s the girl who sent the picture. She’s just a whore,’ ” Jesse’s friend, Lauren Taylor, told NBC News.

Logan said that officials at Sycamore High School were aware of the harassment but did not take sufficient action to stop it. She said that a school official offered only to go to one of the girls who had the pictures and tell her to delete them from her phone and never speak to Jesse again. That girl was 16.

Logan suggested talking to the parents of the girls who were bullying Jesse, but her daughter said that would only open her to even more ridicule.

“She said, ‘No, I need to do something else. I’m going to go on the news,’ and that’s what she did,” Logan said.

Finding Jesse
When Cynthia Logan decided to go public with her story, she told Lauer that a school official told a local television station that he had given Jesse the option of prosecuting her tormentors. “That was not so. It’s absolutely not true,” she told Lauer. “And if he did, why didn’t I get a notice in the mail that he gave her that option?”

Cynthia Logan is still contending with her grief over her daughter Jesse’s suicide.

After her daughter’s death, Logan quit her job and was hospitalized for a time with what she described as a mental breakdown. When she spoke about finding her daughter in her bedroom last July, tears coursed down her cheeks.

Jesse had been talking about going to the University of Cincinnati to study graphic design. Her mother thought she was over the worst of the bullying. Then one of Jesse’s acquaintances committed suicide. Jesse went to the funeral. When she came home, she hanged herself.

“I just had a scan of the room, her closet doors were open,” Logan told NBC News. “And I walked over into her room and saw her hanging. The cell phone was in the middle of the floor.”

Quest for justice
Logan said she’s been through six lawyers in what has so far been an unsuccessful battle to hold school officials responsible for the bullying of her daughter.

She was joined on TODAY by Parry Aftab, an Internet security expert and activist in the battle to protect teens from the dangers that lurk in cyberspace. Aftab said that there are laws that apply.

“There absolutely is a law,” Aftab told Lauer. “It depends on the age of the child. If somebody’s under the age of 18, it’s child pornography, and even the girl that posted the pictures can be charged. They could be registered sex offenders at the end of all of this. Even at the age of 18, because it was sent to somebody under age, it’s disseminating pornography to a minor. There are criminal charges that could be made here.”

Aftab said that it is normal kids just like Jesse who fall victim to the perils of the Internet and the easy exchange of information on cell phones.

“We talked about her being a good kid, a normal kid. Those are most of the ones that are sending out those images,” she said. “Forty-four percent of the boys say that they’ve seen sexual images of girls in their school, and about 15 percent of them are disseminating those images when they break up with the girls.”

Aftab asked Logan to join her in her fight against the electronic exploitation of kids. “I’m going to get her involved in a huge campaign to allow kids to understand the consequences of this and allow schools to understand what they need to do to keep our kids alive,” she said.

Aftab turned to Logan to see if she would help.

“Absolutely,” she said.



Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to Jesse and Cynthia. I believe this is a widespread problem that could happen to any of our vulnerable teenage daughters. Jesse was not a bad girl, she was naive and does not deserve what happened.

Anonymous said...

Ms Logan, my heart deeply goes out to your loss. I know that no words can express your grief. I too lost an only child to suicide at 19 and I just felt compelled to let you know that you are not alone. It will get better but will always be. Please be strong as we are all here for such a short time as it is. My sympathy,

Parry Aftab on March 7, 2009 at 1:22 AM said...

I have been battling these issues for a long time, and every once in awhile you will find a situation that you know will change everything..
Cynthia's genuine love for her daughter and this tragic story about a typical light-hearted teen driven to suicide by the hate and harassment of others will make the difference.
If others want to help, please drop by and volunteer to help with the Jessica Project

Anonymous said...

Just because someone sends their boyfriend a juicy pic doesn't make them a hoe, slut etc. My heart not only goes out to the family, it goes out to the heartless teenagers that tormented this poor girl. I hope they realize if they didn't try to fit in and do what everyone else did, they could've saved some of the pain she was feeling. Instead,their parents get to see them, watch them walk down the isle, watch them at graduation and there will be an empty seat where Jesse should be.I am sickened that so many young adults are followers and not leaders.I am sickened that so many people would rather laugh and make fun of someone so cruel that they cant handle the pain.I hope the parents of these girls & boys took the time to talk to their children.Maybe they are living with guilt right now.Who knows, they could be feeling the same way she felt that day.Talk to your kids.Re-teach them right from wrong. You can be the best parent in the world and your child can make the worst decisions.It's up to you how you will instill in their minds how to think clearly.Eventhough today is bad, tomorrow is always better. Even if tomorrow is years away. TALK TO YOUR KIDS!!! LOOK IN THEIR PHONES!! RETEACH RIGHT AND WRONG!

Anonymous said...

The day that I would have to make funeral arrangements for my child is the day that I make mine too. I can not explain how deeply sorry I am. Please keep your head up and fight for your daughter. I don't care what it takes. She gave up fighting b/c she couldn't handle it so now it is up to you. Now you have an entire nation behind you with me as your #1 supporter.I bet there are parents that don't feel as their perfect daughters did wrong. F them!

Anonymous said...

I hope the boyfriend and those girls are proud of themselves for harassing the poor girl to the point she takes her own life. I hope the boyfriends name is released to the press because I would love to smash the filthy little basterd in the face as many others would.

Anonymous said...

I feel for the family - she was so young and beautiful what a shame. Bullying needs to stop in our school systems. It has really gotten out of hand. My own kid was a victim in his early years and there is little one can do. Teachers hands are tied to prevent much of what goes on. Parents need to get involved in what their children are doing. To assure they have no right to judge others and to know of what consequences can occur if otherwise. My prays and heart goes out to the Logans.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Logan's Boyfriend: Who is this fuker? Whoever this bastard is, I would gain great pleasure seeing this piece of shit exposed. That dirty scum bucket boyfriend! If you ever read this Jessica Logans Ex Boyfriend: FUCK YOU BITCH!

Jessica Logan's boyfriends name: I would like to know. Its time that little bitch ass prick gets his fukin identity exposed to the world. See how that fucker likes it when he is ridiculed.

Anonymous said...



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