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Teacher Julie Amero Gets a New Trial

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the score-one-for-common-sense dept.

The Courts 341

LazloHollyfeld writes "A New London Superior court judge this morning granted a defense request seeking a new trial for Julie Amero, the former Norwich middle school substitute teacher convicted of exposing her middle school students to Internet porn. Acting on a motion by Amero's attorney, William Dow III, Judge Hillary Strackbein placed the case back on a trial list. Amero had faced 40 years on the conviction of four counts of risk of injury to a minor. State prosecutor David Smith confirmed that further forensic examination at the state crime lab of Amero's classroom computer revealed "some erroneous information was presented during the trial. Amero and her defense team claimed she was the victim of pop-up ads — something that was out of her control. Judge Strackbein said because of the possibility of inaccurate facts, Amero was "entitled to a new trial in the interest of justice." After the brief court appearance, a smiling Amero stood next to her attorney. "I feel very comfortable with the decision," Amero said. Dow commended the state for investigating the case further. A new court date has yet to be scheduled. Amero has reentered a not guilty plea."

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Legal Defence (3, Funny)

uolamer (957159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416895)

The Pop-up add made me do it!

Re:Legal Defence (0)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416961)

IANAL, but this case is going to be a mess. What is acceptable for a teacher to do? Typically, this extends outside of thier work hours, such as how a teacher growing pot, or getting DUI will typically lead to termination.

I mean, there's definatly evidence of shady behavior, viewing pron at work, but I do believe that it wasn't intentional to show the students. Trouble is though, do you really want some pron-at-work type person teaching your child? After all, they're supposed to be a trusted role model and good influence for our youth.

Re:Legal Defence (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417031)

>Trouble is though, do you really want some pron-at-work type person teaching your child? After all, they're supposed to be a trusted role model and good influence for our youth.

Sure, if they're a good teacher and aren't showing it to students. Does it really matter what a teacher does on their own time as long as it doesn't come out during the time they spend teaching? Suggesting anything else is trying to force your morals and values on others under the guide of "saving the children", even though it clearly isn't making a damn bit of difference.

For the obvious comparison, I'd rather have this person teaching my students than the person that is so stolid they are still teaching from the textbook they learned from (happened to me, the teacher retired at age 71 or so, one year after he taught me -- he was very proud of his name being on the due date card in one of the books), but never surfs porn, ever.

Re:Legal Defence (4, Informative)

Saanvik (155780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417075)

Um, no, there is no evidence of shady behavior. There's evidence that the computer in question displayed adult images during the time in question, but there are many reasons, such as the pop-up ads blamed by the defense, that such images could have been displayed.

Re:Legal Defence (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417849)

In fact there is evidence of negligence by the school's IT staff, since they never renewed their license for virus and spyware protection. Any damn kid could have surfed any of the thousands of porn domains that spring up every day, and they probably did, which is what set the PC up for popups in the first place. Couple that with poor (read: nonexistent) local security settings and the sysadmin is every bit as guilty as this prof, which is to say: not very guilty at all.

The other thing is: ok so a bunch of teens saw some boobs on a computer screen... so what ? They're probably already checking that stuff out at home when mom & dad aren't watching. It won't make them into lesser beings. On the other hand, dragging this bening issue into court and legally abusing a teacher is one hell of a bad example to set for your kids. That's right son, when the going gets tough, shrug responsibility and sue someone!

Re:Legal Defence (3, Informative)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417995)

There's truth here - my wife is a teacher, and her school has terrible IT security. She actually had to tell them (after I found out by opening my laptop while waiting for her in the parking lot) that an open wireless network is a BAD idea. They had left it open because there were no neighbors for a few hundred yards in any direction, and the IT person (ok, the school librarian) was too lazy to configure the school's laptops.

Re:Legal Defence (3, Insightful)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417085)

After all, they're supposed to be a trusted role model and good influence for our youth.

Not sure when this became fact, but in my day, a teacher was someone that (a) would teach, and (b) would not do unnecessary harm. I probably missed the memo where indoctrinating them to a particular way of life (the parent's responsibility) were offloaded to the teacher.

Re:Legal Defence (5, Interesting)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417145)

Not sure when this became fact, but in my day, a teacher was someone that (a) would teach, and (b) would not do unnecessary harm. I probably missed the memo where indoctrinating them to a particular way of life (the parent's responsibility) were offloaded to the teacher.


No kidding. I'm a teacher and let me tell you, the worst role models are the people intentionally trying to be a role model.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Expert witness (3, Insightful)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417249)

Call in an expert witness to testify the computer was infected with malware which automatically displayed porn ads at irregular intervals. Nothing a non-expert like her could do about it. The whole case was an accident in my opinion.

Re:Expert witness (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418019)


The judge wouldn't allow it, which is another indictment of the judge and prosecutor in this case. The whole thing is a joke. I've been following the case closely, and I tell you any sane person comes away from this case completely shocked. This is one case where the journalism actually isn't sensational enough...

Re:Legal Defence (5, Insightful)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417275)

Actually there may or may not be evidence of shady behavior. What is clear is that the school's protective measures, intended to block the porn and assorted other undesirable popups, were not functioning during the interval in question. It was also brought up in the original trial that she contacted the school authorities in an attempt to get some technical support with the problem. If she'd been thinking more astutely, she might have simply shut the computer down or might even have locked it away from the students. But she did what she was supposed to do in terms of alerting the school to the problem and requesting help with it. If you regard it in another light, she got a 40 year sentence due to somebody else's poor software and tech support.

Re:Legal Defence (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418011)

All really nice except that she was explicitly given orders to *NOT* shut the computer off. Indeed, had she never been instructed to avoid shutting down the computer she probably would have done just that (or at least shut off the monitor, although from what I've read before she evidently did not know that the monitor power switch was separate from the actual computer power switch when asked why she didn't simply shut the monitor off). One can argue about whether or not such a computer illiterate teacher should be in an elementary school classroom in the 21st century all they want, but it's still not something a person should go to jail for. Of course, not that it matters... even though she's innocent of any real wrongdoing, this incident has probably cemented her teaching career closed forever.

porn (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417499)

I mean, there's definatly evidence of shady behavior, viewing pron at work, but I do believe that it wasn't intentional to show the students. Trouble is though, do you really want some pron-at-work type person teaching your child? After all, they're supposed to be a trusted role model and good influence for our youth.

Just because porn is found on a computer does not mean anyone was viewing, looking at, porn. Several years ago it happened to me, even though I didn't download or install anything recently, I found one of those dialers installed on my computer. And now many find spyware automatically installed on their computers, some of these are for porn.

Falcon

Re:Legal Defence (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417875)

State prosecutor David Smith confirmed that further forensic examination at the state crime lab of Amero's classroom computer revealed "some erroneous information was presented during the trial.

When non-lawyers do this, it is called lying. When Prosecutors do this, it is just business as usual. Any thing to get re-elected and advance the political career.

Re:Legal Defence (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417377)

Any attempt at prosecution in this matter is nothing but a total injustice. I fix computers every day. I remove malware. It is incredibly easy to get infected under Windows. Most of this is due to negligence on the part of Microsoft. It is exacerbated by the ignorance of the average user. Virtually any site can be dangerous. Some of this software is incredibly difficult to get rid of while retaining the integrity of the prior install. A substitute school teacher would have no idea how she got infected nor how to remove it once it was infected.

We should not be prosecuting this lady. We should be prosecuting the advertisers and adware distributors. Listen if it wasn't for the advertisers we'd have no malware products. We should also be suing Microsoft for their negligence in their failure to protect the children and the school for not ensuring proper protection to begin with.

Schools should be mandated to use Linux with strict account control. Without a doubt the issues are with Windows, the advertisers, with malware creators, and the school IT people. Someone using a computer for whatever reason should not be held liable because they unwittingly find their way to a malicious site. If they installed Linux on those boxes the accounts would be so compartmentalized there's be little to no adware and no infections that were more difficult to clean than backing up the account data and wiping the account.

The whole idea of holding this poor lady responsible for everyone else's fuck ups is just ludicrous. I know they are saying she did this on purpose and that she was hoping she'd create havoc and harm these children's development and hoped to get fired for doing so. If this hadn't been overturned on this appeal it certainly would have been overturned higher up. This poor woman is being abused by the powers that be and is being used as a scapegoat. This is just sad.

I feel a song coming on....! (3, Funny)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416909)

*sings* The Internet is for porn...

I am really glad..finally justice! (0, Redundant)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416935)

One small step in the right direction for internet justice! (and the loss to quick-to-the-draw prosecutors)

40 years?!? (5, Insightful)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416937)

40 years? For this? Good lord. Aren't there any real criminals we could lock up instead? It's insane.

I'd consider even four years to be excessive for such an offense.

Re:40 years?!? (0)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416951)

Sure there is... how about we start with the guy whom made this monstrosity? http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/internet4por n [albinoblacksheep.com]

Re:40 years?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417187)

"who"

Re:40 years?!? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416953)

Yeah, being a lamer doesn't worth 40 years in prison.

Re:40 years?!? (4, Informative)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416967)

Teachers don't get 4 years for doing it with students.

Re:40 years?!? (5, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417383)

Teachers don't get 4 years for doing it with students.

Don't put any ideas into the heads of legislators. Instead of decreasing the 40 year penalty for this crime, they'll just ramp up other punishments until they're 40 years. Kissing a student: 40 years. Waving hello suggestively to a student: 40 years. Having a student interpret your cough as sexual: 40 years. As far as I can tell, sentences almost never become more lenient, they just get progressively harsher and more draconian.

Re:40 years?!? (1, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417945)

As far as I can tell, sentences almost never become more lenient, they just get progressively harsher and more draconian.

Capital and corporal punishment have been abolished in many places. Even in systems where it still exists we're no longer burning people alive or crucifying them.

We're no longer sentencing people to deportation to foreign over seas penal colonies where they will be forced to work as slave labourers.

It is also no longer a crime in most countries to have religious beliefs that oppose that of the government. I was tempted to say that we don't convict people for such 'crimes' but I just know I'll get a few responses bringing up detainees of Muslims post-9/11 so I chose my words carefully. Point being: regardless of how you feel regarding the current US legislation's behaviour, it is not a crime in most countries to believe what you want whereas even as recently as the 1800's you could still be convicted of heresy in Italy (for example) etc.

I agree that the last few years have seen some very ridiculous FUD from various places that have resulted in some very ridiculous laws and harsh sentences etc. I am not supporting those instances and I will always believe that there is room for improvement. But step back and look at the big picture. I'm not talking about as far back as a thousand or more years ... but just two *hundred* to five hundred years or so and say that punishments are getting worse. Honestly ...

Re:40 years?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417389)

I bet they would if they had sex with the entire class all at once.

Re:40 years?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416983)

Think of the children, you pervert.

Re:40 years?!? (4, Interesting)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417023)

I'm a dad, and I'm far more outraged that this woman's life could potentially be thrown away over a mistake than I am outraged that a few kids might have been—OMG—exposed to porn.

Re:40 years?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417303)

Why don't you pull your cock out of you 10 year old son's ass, fuck wad.

Re:40 years?!? (1)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417611)

I think you're confused.

Re:40 years?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417823)

Stop thinking about -- and more importantly describing in writing -- underage incest rape, you sick pedo!

Re:40 years?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417763)

Well done! You can make people!

Re:40 years?!? (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417779)

Yeah, I saw my first porn on the playground at my elementary school, it blew in with the wind or something. What's next--Sentence the WIND to 40 years?

Re:40 years?!? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417221)

Was she ever actually sentenced to 40 years? My guess is no.

Re:40 years?!? (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417251)

Indeed. I care if the teacher went to school and passed out free Debbie-does-Dallas tapes to each and every student, that is NOT a 40 year sentence worthy crime. No... wait, I'm sure the MPAA would say it is... copyright infringement and all. But you get the idea.

Re:40 years?!? (3, Insightful)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417599)

40 years? For this? Good lord. Aren't there any real criminals we could lock up instead? It's insane.

Don't you know politicans want to look like thier tough on crime? The easiest way to do this is to go after people for non violent "crimes". Send someone who uses marijuana recreationally in their home to gaol for 25 years or another person accused of showing children porn for 40. Of cource they'd then have to release murderers and rapists after just 5 years.

Falcon

lazy (5, Funny)

crAckZ (1098479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416941)

i remember when teachers would have sex with the students. now they just show you internet porn. techers at public schools have gotten so lazy. Do it right or dont do it.

Re:lazy (0, Troll)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417049)

In Soviet Russia the porn shows YOU!

Re:lazy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417087)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:lazy (5, Funny)

AccUser (191555) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417181)

Do it right or dont do it.

Hadn't you heard? Those who can, do. Those who can't teach.

Re:lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417293)

And those who can't teach, teach gym.

While This Criminal Keeps Avoiding His: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416979)

Trial [whitehouse.org] .

Regards,
K.

Injury.... (5, Funny)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417001)

"....risk of injury to a minor"


Indeed, I'm sure the boys were horrified when they had to tolerate pop-up porn after being able to view the stuff they'd bought with their mom's credit card....

Risk? Of injury? (1)

T_ConX (783573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417091)

Amero had faced 40 years on the conviction of four counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Porn puts minors at risk of injury? Wow... I guess that means I performed a large amount of self-mutilation to myself when I was a kid... HA! Take that Emo-Kids! I'm beating you at your own silly game!

Fun with the legal system? (1, Redundant)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417103)

Well, at least I now know how to get a teacher I dislike into prison for 40 years.

Step 1) Install porn adware on the computer the teacher is going to use.
Step 2) Make the teacher use the computer in front of an audience of minors
Step 3) ???
Step 4) Profit!

should have used firefox (3, Funny)

yooman (309883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417107)

wouldn't mozilla firefox have halted unwanted popups?

only if people listened to the nerds who know.

Forty years in jail? (5, Insightful)

demiurgency (1072428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417111)

This whole topic makes me so incredibly furious. Forty years in jail, for being the vicitm of spyware? Even if the defendant used a school laptop in at home and visited some questionable sites, that should at most earn her a fine, as a strict warning to other educators that extremely careful to not bring a laptop into the class when it might be compromised. The only real justice here would be if the creator of that pop-up ad/spyware would be tracked down by their 1-900 number and they be convicted to forty years in jail. This is an utter failure of the justice system.

Re:Forty years in jail? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417211)

She wasn't sentenced; 40 years is the max she hypothetically could have been sentenced to (4 charges with a max of 10 years each, served consecutively for example).

No sane judge would issue such a sentence, though.

Analysis of her system (3, Informative)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417141)

Here's a link to some commentary by a guy who actually reviewed a copy of the hard drive from the porn-serving computer: http://www.networkperformancedaily.com/2007/01/the _strange_case_of_ms_julie_a_1.html [networkper...edaily.com]

This woman was a substitute teacher.

We examined all internet related folders and files before October 19, 2004, during October 19, 2004 and after October 19, 2004. Most significantly, we noted freeze.com, screensaver.com, eharmony.com and zedo.com were being accessed regularly.


Sounds like the regular classroom teacher had a lot of time on her hands to go surfing around.

Re:Analysis of her system (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417225)

Or the janitor.

Re:Analysis of her system (2, Interesting)

aegisalpha (58712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417311)

I laughed at this part:

All of the jpg's that we looked at in the internet cache folders were of the 5, 6 and 15 kB size, very small images indeed. Normally, when a person goes to a pornographic website they are interested in the larger pictures of greater resolution and those jpgs would be at least 35 kB and larger. We found no evidence of where this kind of surfing was exercised on October 19, 2004.


"Most people prefer higher quality porn!"

Re:Analysis of her system (1)

Javi0084 (926402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417319)

If I remember correctly, this happened in a computer lab on a computer used by students. She walked in the room and thats when she saw the pop-ups.

Re:Analysis of her system (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417321)

Well don't forget that students were allowed to use the computer to surf the web as well. So it's difficult to say who exactly was surfing what and at what time. I believe the only pages that seemed specifically connected to the substitute teacher's session were cached when she was checking her AOL mail.

What is undisputable, though, is the fact that the school did a piss poor job in securing their pc's. If there's any culpability here, it's on the school administrators.

Re:Analysis of her system (1)

centinall (868713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417375)

We examined all internet related folders and files before October 19, 2004, during October 19, 2004 and after October 19, 2004. Most significantly, we noted freeze.com, screensaver.com, eharmony.com and zedo.com were being accessed regularly.

before, during and after. This would indicate that this type of behavior happened before and after she was there. Not sure how it follows that she was responsible for all of the activity.
also:

we were led to believe that there were students using the computer to search out hair styles.

and:

We found no evidence of where this kind of surfing was exercised on October 19, 2004.

also, not really sure what kind of expert this guy after making the following comments:

several java, aspx's and html scripts were uploaded

Re:Analysis of her system (2, Interesting)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417591)

I had the same impression of this "expert" as you - but there are a limited number of people who actually have reviewed the system. His analysis of user activity is questionable and there were a couple of other things in there - like stating google initialized pop-ups.

However - he did find non-school related surfing, spyware, and adware. Whether this spyware was actually the cause of this or whether it happened to just be a component of a visited website isn't really clear either.

Re:Analysis of her system (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417469)

Have you been to those sites? 2 screensaver sites, online dating and an ad serving site. To me that sounds like the fourth site was serving the ads to the first 3 - especially since they are common examples of online advertising. Furthermore, the computer wasn't exclusively used by the teacher; it was also used by pupils.

Here's a crazy idea... (1, Redundant)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417149)

Don't use the internet in schools!

Seriously, it may sound extreme, but what reason is there to have it when schools should have all the necessary information on whatever subjects are being taught within the boundaries of the school property? Training? It's not like the school can't just run an internal internet of their own where they control 100% of the content used on it! Current events and information retrieval? Just have the teachers pre-cache the appropriate content ahead of time for later offline viewing!

With so many possible ways to teach about the internet without actually having to use the real internet, there's no need to put yourself into positions like this.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (2, Interesting)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417269)

It's not like the school can't just run an internal internet of their own where they control 100% of the content used on it!


Good news! Next week your school district is going to vote on whether they should hire more IT staff so they can make their own controlled internet. All it will take is a small increase to your property taxes.

Get real. Using the internet is a valuable skill that children in school should learn, but creating a completely controlled environment will be too expensive. The best we can reasonably hope for is a public internet connection and a horribly configured/maintained proxy. We're just going to have to deal with the occasional child being accidentally exposed to material that his/her parents find objectionable. But really, is anyone ever really "injured" by information?

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417405)

And what exactly are they learning on the internet that can't be replicated on a private network? (Aside from the unnecessary and self-explanatory social engineering stuff that *already* causes students to hand in english assignments written entirely in instant messenging shorthand.)

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417715)

And what exactly are they learning on the internet that can't be replicated on a private network?

Oh, the entire contents of Wikipedia for starters. My son used that a lot for high school research papers.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417865)

But really, is anyone ever really "injured" by information?

"Mommy, guess what I learned at school today! I tried it on ALL the boys, and they want me to do it again!"

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417345)

You assume teachers know how to do this. An English teacher doesn't need to know how to play cat and mouse with Windows security, S/he needs to know how to engage kids, teach kids and the subject in question. IT skills don't come into this what so ever.

The saying goes "Jack of all trades, master of none", it's not just random chance you know.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417441)

Then what are they doing that specifically requires the internet? There's plenty of offline materials available for computers that don't require more than a couple brain cells to use.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417577)

> The saying goes "Jack off all trades [...]

Fixed that for you.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417401)

I fully agree. The exorbitant money spent on internet in every classroom could go to hire better teachers or purchase better books. Unfortunately, people don't seem to understand that a computer is a tool to let you do what you know more efficiently, rather than a device to do your work for you. The same people allow little kids to learn arithmetic with a calculator.

Re:Here's a crazy idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417635)

Why don't you walk to work and pump water from a well. Come on... remember the good old days... Wouldn't want it to be too easy for the kids would ya?

You know, back in the day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417157)

when the Internet was getting popular and I was in school. The teacher would always have the projector OFF before surfing to a site and would close the pop ups BEFORE showing the students the website.

Seriously, why didn't the teacher turn off the projector or the monitor and then changed the subject instantly.

Wrong evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417163)

She should be having a new trial on the basis that 40 years in jail for showing some kids porn is insane!
Taking her panties down and doing herself with a banana in front of them shouldn't giver her 40 years! Nor 20! Nor 10! Nor 5!

You guys are great! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417213)

I'm happily posting from an European country. I remember a handful of events like this, usually with those "videotape" thingies you hardly remember anymore...well, back to the story. Occasionally it was the teacher who made a little mistake, more often it was one of the kids who smuggled in some porn when the teacher wasn't watching. The latter happened a few times in my class. I was maybe 13. (Never was the one who smuggled it, though. Honestly!)

Now, what was the reaction, from both the kids and the parents?

Basically, "Hee hee." Maybe some frowning by those few who actually go to church (quite rare around here) but that's all. If you even tried suing over this, you'd more likely get fined for being a crackpot and wasting the court's time.

"Injury to a minor"? 40 years? This would be some great comedy if it wasn't true. Now it's tragicomedy.

No it was because some geek put child porn (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417223)

on the judges computer.

She should lose her teaching license (-1, Flamebait)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417245)

She should at least lose her teaching license. Regardless of how the porn got onto the computer, her handling of the situation after that was grossly incompetent for a teacher. She could have simply covered the monitor. An elementary school classroom would have plenty of items available to allow that (construction paper, tape). She could have sent the kids to the playground or cafeteria or assembly room. She could have effectively sought help. (She did seek help, but all she said was there was a pop-up problem. She did not say that they were inappropriate pop-ups). If there was no place to send the kids and she did not want to leave them along while seeking help, she could have brough them with her.

Many stories on the net portray this as if there were some pop-ups, and a couple kids got a glance at them, briefly. In fact, the pop-ups were appearing for several hours, and the kids were exposed to them for several hours. That in all that time she could not come up with a single effective way to deal with the situation shows that she is totally unable to deal with being in charge of children. I'd hate to see how she would do in a medical emergency or a natural disaster or a fire.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417409)

Got links to back your assertions? I haven't read anything that suggests that she left those images up on the screen for hours.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (2, Interesting)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417423)

I'd have to argue against even losing her teaching credentials. Certainly a reprimand is in order, but the catalyst to the situation was not only beyond her control, it was within the control of the school administration. She was under orders not to turn the computer off under any circumstance. She reported the situation (poorly, but she did report it).

Plenty of young and old teachers alike are not computer savvy.

It's very easy to imagine a person who would not know what to do in this situation. How many times during your scholastic career did a teacher or school administrator make a decision that was contrary to logic, not in the best interest of students, or altogether dumb.

I found naked pictures in National Geographic in third grade. Eventually those issues were removed from the classroom. I can't imagine that my teacher was even reprimanded. The only real difference is that those pictures weren't designed to be tittilating. They still got into the classroom under the guise of an educational tool, and my teacher didn't immediately remove the issues when she discovered what we had been seeing. I'm willing to bet that my third grade class was not the only one in the country to go through this, and I'm also willing to bet that there are National Geographic issues in classrooms today with pictures of naked women inside them.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (2, Insightful)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417613)

I remember teachers having problems getting slide projectors to work.. let alone a computer. for all she knows taping paper on the monitor would overheat it and cause it to melt.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (1)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417551)

"Regardless of how the porn got onto the computer, her handling of the situation after that was grossly incompetent for a teacher. She could have simply covered the monitor."

"She could have effectively sought help. "

"That in all that time she could not come up with a single effective way to deal with the situation shows that she is totally unable to deal with being in charge of children."

how could she? porn destroys your mind, doesn't it? Isn't that the "injury" she risked inflicting on the children?
Obviously the porn had damaged her brain and thus she can not be responsible for her actions after seeing porn.

"I'd hate to see how she would do in a medical emergency or a natural disaster or a fire."

If she lit 4 kids on fire, or injected them with hepatitis I dont think anyone would find 40 years to be an absurd consequence or object to her loosing her teaching license.

I think I first saw softcore porn around when I was 10 and hardcore porn not long afterwards... I aced all the sex ed courses incidentally...

little did I know it would destroy the rest of my life.

oh how the nightmares plague me to this day

Are you batshit insane? (2, Insightful)

biscon (942763) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417625)

Dude what the fuck are you talking about? what the hell is wrong with some of you americans, kids doesn't get harmed by accidentally seeing a porn popup.. Let me repeat: watching a picture of people having sex is not harmful to children ffs. Get it into your skull, no why the hell do you want her fired, its probably some of the pupils who been accessing the porn sites responsible for the popups.. geez..

Re:She should lose her teaching license (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417631)

> She could have simply covered the monitor. An elementary
> school classroom would have plenty of items available to allow
> that (construction paper, tape). She could have sent the kids
> to the playground or cafeteria or assembly room.

You know what's funny? You expect this woman to react appropriately in the heat of the moment. OTOH, you, who is under no pressure and has all the time in the world, failed to come up with the most effective way to prevent the images, i.e. turn off the monitor, and instead would be running around the classroom looking for construction paper and tape.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417859)

You're an ignorant prude. Sex is a normal thing and porn is the depiction of sex. Who cares if the children saw it?

Stupid Americans. It's no wonder you have the poorest educational system in the world with rubes like you as the end result.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417871)

For giving these students the time of their life??

Come on, I would have paid all my lunch money for this!

Re:She should lose her teaching license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417975)

I'm willing to bet that this incident isn't the first time those kids have seen internet porn. Somewhere out there, kids are surfing the web at home without parental supervision. I don't know why people insist on believing that children are so innocent and naive these days.

Re:She should lose her teaching license (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417983)

Many states don't require a "license" to substitute teach. They pay someone about $60-75/day to babysit the kids. I know a retired engineer who subs for Math Teachers on a regular basis.

Porn inflicts injuries now? (4, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417261)

Amero had faced 40 years on the conviction of four counts of risk of injury to a minor
Risk of injury! What, were they worried the children would all go blind or something?

Re:Porn inflicts injuries now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417489)

It caused the kids to grow hair on their palms.

Re:Porn inflicts injuries now? (1)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417615)

Go blind, develop hairy palms, turn into basement-dwelling, Slashdot-surfing geeks with no social life ... who knows what else might happen?

Re:Porn inflicts injuries now? (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417921)

Risk of injury! What, were they worried the children would all go blind or something?

No, no no. They were clearly worried about the cost of hair removal gel for their palms.

I hope she gets off... (1)

benow (671946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417277)

Injurious? How? Where are the laws against the laws that deny sexuality and discovery.

Add'l Info (4, Insightful)

Evets (629327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417287)

According to http://www.courant.com/news/local/hcu-amerotrial-0 606,0,4739321.story [courant.com] the state is unlikely to prosecute her a second time.

Also, there, it states that her sentencing was postponed 4 times this spring as the state considered new evidence. It's not clear how much - if any - time was spent in jail.

It's disturbing that the teachers unions did not come to her defense, or at least push to have more light shed on the situations that teachers face regularly in the classroom. Yeah, this girl was a substitute, but the case has a large bearing on teachers in general.

If I was sent to investigate this situation, and ran into a pregnant substitute teacher who was given instructions not to turn off the computer under any circumstances it would be hard not to take a look at the potential pop-up/spyware situation. Is there nobody that works for the police department, prosecutors office, the school, or the school board who has any real IT experience?

Re:Add'l Info (3, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417629)

It's disturbing that the teachers unions did not come to her defense

As a long-time union member, I can assure you that the image of the union (or gains made via concessions by management) almost always trumps the protectionism provided its members. I have personally been "sold down the river" when it became clear that the union stood more to gain from honoring management's wishes that I would just go away rather than defending me (ironic, since I was a union rep with the singular goal of defending my bargaining unit members). I have seen many others treated similarly over the years.

BTW, this really isn't a dig for or against unions; it's just something you accept when you get involved with a union.

We covered the original conviction... (4, Interesting)

boyko.at.netqos (1024767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417325)

at length on NetworkPerformanceDaily.com [networkper...edaily.com]

Here are some links to stories we did:

Double Standard (4, Insightful)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417337)

Whenever I hear about this stuff, or when some hot female teacher has sex with a student, I know that as an adult, and a parent, I'm supposed to be upset and outraged, but... If it was me, and some hot female teacher wanted to do some extracurricular activities at her house or some hot chick from my class wanted to take me on a magic carpet ride...I don't think I'd be that upset.

Re:Double Standard (1)

daveywest (937112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417451)

When was the last time a hot teacher that had an extracurricular session prosecuted? If they are hot, they aren't working the student body (pun intended).

Middle school huh? (1)

Kaffien (635219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417523)

does that mean grades 8 /9 when your 13 ish? you know that age at which kids are already either sexually active or browsing their own internet at home for hard core porn? I doubt these students were damaged. A few of the sheltered ones may have questions for mommy and daddy but most of them are already in the know! Maybe they should ask the students. Seriously though, 40 years!? I've seen murders get less than 12!

The middle-American obsession... (4, Insightful)

vorlich (972710) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417553)

with pornography is just weird, and even though I am a born and bred Scottish Lutheran - sheesh I did Grow-Up and had an education. Resident as I am on the Continent, (where the Alps are on my doorstep) I am fortunate enough to live where the local population, in general, has a very sensible attitude to sex. It occupies no more of an obsession than clothes, food, beer, balsamico, olive oil and er...George W. Bush (Okay, you can't have everything), so while this is a marginally interesting post it is really a huge load of tosh about an idiosyncrancy that is entirely peculiar to our companions across the big pond, who spent some time chucking English tea into Boston Harbour.
You know sex, drugs,rock n roll - these are just things we do.
Snowboarding is where we are at.
What we want is long powder.

Re:The middle-American obsession... (4, Insightful)

TheRealSlimShady (253441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417737)

It's quite strange isn't it - the American moral police don't seem to have any problem with showing pretty graphic violence (or even torture) but heaven forbid that some see a breast or some pubes.

"inaccurate facts"? (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417673)

OBSimpsons: "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" -- Homer

I'm about to injure you all. (0, Troll)

default luser (529332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417707)

*Flash*

8=================D

There' you're scarred for life! Now I'm facing forty years!

Real Criminals. (1, Insightful)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417813)

This situation arose because there ARE real criminals involved, and probably not this poor lady:

1. Microsoft. A monopoly that has created an enormous hegemony that is completely insecure and poorly designed.
2. The Media. A group of corporations that are misinforming the population of a democracy so that
3. The Government. Can keep allowing Microsoft and other bloatware vendors to dominate the market allowing
4. Spam Kings. To put porn all over every computer in the nation insuring that
5. School Administrations. continue to use the hegemonic monopoly products and allow their schools network infrastructure to be completely over run with porn.

I mean, let's talk about how things would have been different if the lady had been running Firefox. Or Firefox on Ubuntu. Or Firefox on Ubuntu on a reliable network that had some reasonable amount of IP protection from the get go.

There are criminals involved in this case, and this poor nit wit lady is very likely not one of them. Just another misinformed, ignorant American who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suffered greatly thanks to Microsoft's inability to design an OS or browser that is remotely secure, and also thanks to the complete erosion of democracy and real news that has allowed that kind of moronic hegemony to take evolve.

Re:Real Criminals. (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417853)

Just remove the word "take". I should have used the preview button. DOH!
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