Fifteen-year-old Kimberly Garnet gets a possessive kiss from her boyfriend in the hallway at school. They part ways with, "I love you." A boy in the hallway sneers at Kimberly that they all love her. Another says they've seen what he loves. Other students join in on the taunting, asking when the next show is and who else is she putting out for? Confused and frightened, Kimberly doesn't see the stairs. She tumbles down the entire flight, knocking herself unconscious. A female student shrieks, "Call an ambulance!"
At the hospital, Dr. Manning briefs Olivia and Stabler on Kimberly's condition. He says he called SUV when he found evidence of prior physical abuse; an old bruise on Kimberly's scalp that looks like she was kicked in the head, cranial X-rays showing healed skull injuries and full body X-rays that reveal healed rib fractures and bone chips in her shoulder. "Somebody's been beating the hell out of her," Olivia says.
The detectives separate Kimberly's parents for questioning. Mom blames sports for Kimberly's injuries, but was unaware of the broken ribs. Dad says Kimberly's grades have slipped, and that he's been unemployed for months. A former Lehman SVP, he was fired for warning the company they were in trouble. Both deny abusing Kimberly. Stabler pushes Dad's buttons, enraging him so much he punches the soda machine. Apologizing for his loss of control, he insists that's not who he is. He swears he's never hurt Kimberly, and volunteers for a lie detector test. The detectives ask who Kimberly confides in. They mention Steve Walker, Kimberly's boyfriend. Both think they spend too much time together.
At his swim practice, Stabler and Benson question Steve, who confirms that Kimberly's parents think they hang out too much. He says it sucks because they have to go to his place for sex. When they imply they think he might be hitting her, he says "No way," and says Kimberly messed up her shoulder in a boxing class. A class that her parents don't know she's taking. He says Kimberly forged her mom's signature on the release.
Kimberly's boxing teacher says that Kimberly refused advances from another boxer, Rick Edwards. As revenge, he tripped her while she was jumping rope. She calls Rick down from the ring, and he responds by calling her a bitch. Stabler flashes his badge and asks Rick to come down. Copping attitude, he refuses, so Stabler enters the ring and asks about Kimberly. Rick calls Kimberly a bitch, so Stabler asks if all women are bitches to him. Rick swings at Stabler, who blocks the fighting rooster's punch and floors him with a kick in the nuts.
At the station, as Stabler marches Rick to a holding cell, Rick fronts a tough guy act and swears he never hit Kimberly. That is, until he learns his bunkmate is Little P, a huge, muscled, chap-wearing menace whom Fin just happens to mention raped a 13-year-old boy. Rick's act drops, turning to terror when he's locked inside. As Little P closes in, Rick tells the detectives that he tried to apologize outside the gym, but Kimberly wouldn't give him the time of day. He admits he wanted to throttle her, but didn't.
Stabler talks to Stuckey and Cragen, who's irritated at the overeager forensics tech for not giving the evidence from Kimberly's locker to TARU as instructed. Stuckey says Kimberly's been "sexting," sending nude pictures of herself through her cell phone. Adding that she's "smoking hot," Stuckey says Kimberly received tons of hate mail, meaning someone might have taken her phone and sent the pictures to her entire school. Stabler finds an ominous message, "UR gonna die," which appears to be sent from her own phone. Cragen wonders why she'd send a death threat to herself.
In the lab, forensics tech Ryan O'Halloran doesn't think Kimberly sent the message to herself. Stuckey demonstrates how someone can fake a phone number through a spoofing website. Ryan finds that minutes before sending the photos to Steve, Kimberly texted the photos to another boy, Ethan Morse, who lives in Little Neck, NY. Stuckey finds a picture of him on Kimberly's phone which reveals he's a student at Grandview Prep and the star of their theater program.
At Grandview Prep, Ethan tells Stabler and Fin that Kimberly accidentally sent him the photos. When they doubt him, Ethan says he wishes Kimberly liked him "that way," but hot girls don't go for drama geeks. Ethan appears nervous when Stabler asks him the last time he saw her. He answers, "Monday at school." Later, Fin finds that Ethan lied. Kimberly visited Ethan in Little Neck on Friday. And, through records he obtained from a friend who works at Grandview, he also learns that Ethan's been suspended twice for starting fights which included kicking a student in the head. Cragen introduces D.A. Samantha Copeland, who says she can't use Ethan's records without a court order.
Stabler and Fin show Sam the timeline and evidence which leads to the conclusion that Kimberly was attacked Friday night in Little Neck. The detectives theorize whether Kimberly sent the photos to Ethan on accident or on purpose. Olivia shows train station surveillance shots of Kimberly buying a ticket to Little Neck, and minutes later, Steve buying one at another booth. Now, they must determine if Steve was stalking Kimberly or accompanying her as protection against Ethan when she told him that she accidentally sent him the photos.
The detectives question both boys separately, each with a parent present. Steve insists Kimberly asked him accompany her to Little Neck as protection against Ethan. Ethan says he's been friends with Kimberly since September, which coincides with her oldest injury. Both deny sending the death threat text or hurting Kimberly. When the questioning gets tough, both parents shut down the interview. In the hallway, Ethan rushes at Steve. Both accuse each other of hurting Kimberly. When Benson gets word that Kimberly just woke, Sam hopes her story will settle it once and for all.
At the hospital, Kimberly says she doesn't remember anything and that her other injuries were accidents. Sam offers her protection, but Kimberly won't budge. Her parents are shocked to learn that their daughter participated in sexting. Kimberly knows it was stupid and apologizes. When Sam graphically describes a grisly fate for Kimberly if she doesn't tell, Olivia privately reminds her that Kimberly's the victim and browbeating her won't help. However, Sam has another plan to get her to talk. She forces a reluctant Olivia to arrest Kimberly for creating and distributing child pornography.
Kimberly's lawyer Miranda Pond is outraged at Sam's tactics to get her client to talk. Olivia tries the softer approach with Kimberly while the attorneys argue it out. However, Kimberly still won't talk. In Judge Hilda Marsden's chambers, Sam and Miranda argue whether Kimberly's actions merit the child pornography charges. Marsden wants Olivia's opinion. Olivia says the law says yes, but she doesn't believe that was her intent. Marsden appreciates her honesty, but rejects Miranda's motion to dismiss the case. Wanting to send a message to other teens, Marsden rules to uphold the charges and goes to trial.
After the hearing, Olivia learns that Kimberly's been beat up. Miranda accompanies her to the hospital, where Dr. Manning tells them he doesn't believe her story on how she got injured. Kimberly, with a bruised face and broken arm, says she fell off her skateboard. Despite pleadings from her parents and the law, she's not talking. Especially to Olivia, who arrested her. That night, Cragen asks Olivia about sandbagging Sam in Marsden's chambers. Though Olivia defends her point, Cragen says it's up to the judge, not her.
In family court, Kimberly admits being ashamed that the whole school saw her naked and that she didn't intend for anyone to forward them. When Sam asks if she was beaten up by her abuser to intimidate her into silence, Kimberly sticks with her accident story. Marsden reminds Kimberly she's under oath. Kimberly begs them not to make her tell. Unsympathetic, Marsden sentences her to a night in jail for contempt of court to see if that will convince her to talk.
Olivia brings Kathleen Stabler to Kimberly's cell. Kathleen says Olivia also threw in her jail when she wouldn't cooperate with their investigation into her own abuse. She talks sense into Kimberly, who admits Steve is beating her. And, that she sent the pictures to Ethan by mistake. When Steve found out, he stole her phone and sent them to the entire school. The next day, the cops arrest Steve at school and give him a taste of his own medicine, compliments of a perp walk through the hallways as the entire school watches.
Kimberly testifies that Steve attacked her on her court date to keep her silent about the abuse. When both lawyers move to dismiss the charges of child pornography, Marsden shocks them by denying their motions and rules that Kimberly is guilty of creating and distributing child pornography. While both attorneys vehemently object, Marsden sentences Kimberly to a year in a facility for juvenile sex offenders in Wellsburg, Ohio. After the trial, Olivia and Miranda chastise a contrite Sam for her role in Kimberly's fate.
Wondering why Marsden didn't allow closing arguments and rushed to sentence, Olivia and Miranda visit the family court clerk's office to get statistics on her rulings. However, they're stonewalled by Ed, a clerk who tips off Marsden. Marsden calls them into her courtroom and asks why they're interested in her sentencing stats. When they disclose their reasons, Marsden says she's merely taking a stand, being tired of kids getting away with everything. Olivia accuses her of being on a power trip. After a few choice words, even though Marsden said the conversation was off the record, she throws them both in jail for contempt.
Sam and Cragen spring Olivia and Miranda from jail and show them what they've dug up on Marsden. In two years, she's sent 50 kids to Wellsburg on sex offender charges for petty crimes like loitering or urinating in public. Stabler confronts Ed and brings him to the station where they grill him on how he can afford a Mercedes and seven-figure condo on a $56K salary. Offered a deal, Ed admits getting paid to pad Marsden's calendar with kids she can send to Wellsburg. Ed says Marsden's cousin runs Wellsburg and gets paid for every bed filled there. He swears he'll never do it again. They tell him that he will, one more time.
Stabler poses as Ed's childhood friend who wants his daughter's boyfriend, who's appearing in Marsden's courtroom tomorrow, thrown in jail. After hearing about the slap on the wrist the kid got for stealing his car, she agrees to go hard on him, then encourages him to thank her by donating to her re-election campaign. In court, Dr. Huang poses as the lawyer with Ethan playing the hoodrat. For added effect, Cragen poses as Ethan's dad. When Marsden rules as expected, Stabler tells her she's busted for everything from bribery to federal wire fraud. He cuffs and hauls the sanctimonious, irate judge away. After trial, Kimberly learns she's been cleared of everything.