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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Students at Mérida’s private Catholic Universities caught trading thousands of explicit photos of their classmates

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Many students have been extremely critical of the university’s lack of action to address the case. Photo: Courtesy

Numerous students at Mérida’s Anáuac Mayab University are reportedly active in a “secret” chat group to trade intimate photos of classmates, as well as engage in cyberbullying. 

The chat group on Telegram, which has an extremely sexist name, has been used to share 3,264 photographs and 481 videos. 

The existence of the group came to light when the boyfriend of one of the group’s victims discovered and reported it to state authorities. 

“Good taste and morality aside, this a serious crime, and those responsible are liable for serious consequences,” says a Chetumal-based lawyer and legal scholar, Raúl López Ojeda. 

The majority of active members in the group appear to be students at the Anáuac Mayab, but reports have also surfaced regarding the involvement of students from Universidad Marista, another private Catholic university in Mérida. 

Leadership at Anáuac Mayab University has not commented on the existence of the Telegram group, but the rectory at Marista was quick to denounce the alleged acts and encouraged victims to come forward.

Earlier: Man arrested in Yucatán’s 1st revenge porn case

The existence of the Telegram group has been widely condemned on social media. But there exists a widespread belief that the incident will be swept under the rug given the perpetrators’ social status and desire of the Anáuac Mayab University to keep silent.

Under a 2018 federal law known as the Ley Olimpia, individuals who engage in sharing intimate materials without consent are liable for criminal prosecution.

Violators face up to six years in prison and a half-million peso fine.

The measure is named after Olimpia Coral Melo, who became an activist after finding a video online of her and her then-boyfriend having sex when she was 18. She vowed to help outlaw the practice in Mexico, and her efforts succeeded in late 2018.

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