Parents say images appeared on at least five sites and included pictures of boys from several local schools, some as young as 14. The boys' faces are not obscured, and the names of their high schools often are easily read on their caps and swimsuits.
University of California, Irvine police confirmed that they are investigating whether a dispatcher, Scott Cornelius, photographed the boys for gay-oriented sites. Cornelius, who took the pictures, was credentialed to take photographs at the competitions.
"We're looking into the matter," police Chief Paul Henisey said. "We're not exactly sure about what we have or what kinds of issues there are."
Several of the pictures were posted on several pages of a gay porn site registered to a London address. At least four other sites, including one described by viewers as a shirtless gallery site, also posted the pictures.
None of the sites were named in published news reports.
In general, publicly taken, non-graphic photos of minors older than 13 can be posted online without obtaining permission. But the pictures and sites in question raise privacy concerns from the teens' parents.
"These kids don't look at what they do as shameful," Joan Gould, an international water polo official and a spokeswoman for a group of Orange County water polo parents, told the Associated Press. "For someone to come in and take what these kids are doing and take it out of context and exploit these images, these kids and their schools, because you can see the school name on the caps, is just horrible."