Google “Teen Sexting” and You’ll Find Local Schoolgirl
When 16-year-old Hayley Westervale got a crush on an older boy, she tried to get his attention the way many teenage girls do these days – by sending him a nude photo of herself over her cell phone. Instead, she caught the attention of someone else: her mother.
“It shocked me when I found out that my little girl was sexting,” says Phyllis Westervale. “I wasn’t sure how to punish her, but then I remembered what my father did when he caught me smoking. He locked me in my room and told me I couldn’t come out till I smoked every cigarette I had. There must’ve been a hundred! It sure worked, because after that I never wanted to smoke again.”
So she devised a similar punishment for her daughter. Hayley had to stay in her room until she’d sent nude pictures of herself to one hundred people. That’s exactly what she did, and with a hundred naked photos circulating around Chrislip, Hayley became locally famous.
“It was actually pretty cool,” she says. “I’d walk down the street and people would honk at me. ‘Lovin’ the boobs, Hayley!’… ‘Nice keister, kiddo!’ I felt really important, like Heidi Montag or the Octumom.”
Hayley enjoyed the attention, and when it became clear that she wasn’t going to stop sexting, her mother decided to try to salvage some good out of it.
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” says Phyllis, “I thought it would be nice if local businesses got in on the game, if they would maybe pledge money to charity for each sext that Hayley sends out.”
The idea caught on. Once merchants saw Hayley naked, they were eager to jump on her bandwagon. So far, nearly $5000 has been raised, and most has been donated to charities that fight sexual exploitation of children. Even the police department has chipped in $300. And Sheriff Clint Kennedy admits that he keeps a naked picture of Hayley at his house in case of emergencies.
He shrugs off the notion that circulating nude photos of a minor is against the law. “Maybe in the big city,” he says. “But friend, we do things different up here. In a small town, everybody’s family.”