Monday, March 8, 2010
Teacher admits making child porn with
15 y.o. male student
LMSD remains mum
A teacher admitted to making child pornography with a 15 year old student today, according to the FBI. Some of the videos were made in school class rooms. Others were made in each of the teacher's' two private homes.
According to a press release by the FBI, the teacher was asked to tutor the student on a 1 on 1 basis. Somehow the discussions between the two drifted to the topic of sex. The boy reportedly asked the teacher if he could find a girl. The idea was for the three to have sex together, a menage a trois.
"The boy said he knew he was being video taped"
The teacher never got around to finding the girl. The boy and the teacher engaged in sex anyway. The boy was also filmed in sexual acts by himself.
Talking about girls and sex is a trick pedophiles use to lure young boys into sexual relationships. Apparently, the boy, who was only 14 when the relationship began, fell for the ploy.
The boy said he knew he was being video taped during his sexual exploits.
In contrast, students at Harriton Senior High School in the Lower Merion School District of Pennsylvania did not know the camera was rolling in the lap top spy cam scandal. We don't know what the pictures taken by one of two administrators will show.
In that case, students were issued Apple lap top computers without being told the built in web cam could be secretly activated, even when the student was in the privacy of his own home. Presumably, LMSD officials anticipated times when the cameras would certainly show students in unflattering circumstances, or possibly worse, when both boys and girls were dressing or in the process of their own version of learning about the birds and the bees.
The scandal came to light when 15 year old Blake Robbins was called on the carpet while eating Mike and Ikes candies. Harriton Vice Principal Lyn Matsko broke the news to Blake that they had photos of him downing prescription drugs. Unfortunately for the administration, they don't know the difference between Mike and Ike's, a fruity candy that comes in oblong sizes, and prescription medications.
"One hopes this opposition is not a means of grabbing headlines"
The Robbins family brought a class action law suit that threatens to cut the student body and the community into two camps, pro and con. A parent's organization, the LMSD Parents, opposes the class action law suit and is lobbying against the Robbins. One hopes this opposition is for the benefit of the students and not as a means of grabbing headlines from the international press the incident has generated.
LMSD said it planned to activate the spy cameras only when a computer was reported missing. They thought it would be a great way to catch criminals by having the thief's mug shot along with his mitts on the goods. We don't have an explanation for why Blake's computer web cam was activated. He had not reported his lap top missing. Nor do we have an explanation why the school used their secret photographs to nail what they claim was a suspected drug dealer if their only goal was to recover stolen lap tops. The LMSD story and the facts don't appear to jibe.
If we put the two cases together, a teacher who violated a student, and a school district which violated community trust, the obvious question is posed: Which of the two incidents is more egregious? In the former case, a teacher had sex with a 15 year old boy who knew the camera was rolling. In the later case, school administrators knew they were taking photographs of students, at least some of which were sure to amount to child pornography, and their victims had no idea they were posing for the silver screen.
It is a losing argument to say in the student-teacher case the child was having sex and in the Lower Merion School District case the students would simply be photographed, at times, probably without clothing. If enough secret photographs were taken, the school administration should rationally have expected they would catch some students in the process of sexual relations, either with themselves or with another student, or perhaps, even with an adult.
Well maybe the lap top spy cam idea wasn't so bad after all. Yes it was.
On the other hand, both cases represent a violation of the confidence we put in people of trust. Sadly, in both cases it was school staff. In one case a sick teacher and in the other case one sick school board. That is my point of view. LMSD Parents might disagree.
The minimum sentence for teacher Scott Christopher Howe who had sex with a boy from Cedar Lee Middle School in Bealton, in Fauquier County, Virginia is 15 years. We don't know what the minimum sentences for members of the LMSD school board and school administrators will be if they are convicted, since no one has yet been indicted. The school's continued refusal to accept responsibility, which requires more than a simple admission the event took place, is not likely enough to deter an investigation by the FBI.
I remain optimistic the warring parties in the Harriton Senior High School community, the LMSD, the Robbins, and especially the students and faculty, can put this ugly incident in perspective and move on. For a young boy from the Cear Lee Middle School in the Fauquier County School District in Virginia, and for Scott Christopher Howe, it is too late.