Photo sent to school district prompts probe

Anonymous letter alleges nude picture is of teacher

May 07, 2000|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

An anonymous letter and explicit nude photograph of a woman purported to be an Anne Arundel County teacher has been mailed to the school system, prompting an investigation by school officials.

"We have not been able to substantiate the accuracy of the letter," said Michael Walsh, a county schools spokesman, who said that the letter and photo had arrived at school system headquarters Thursday.

He said that a teacher with the same last name as the person identified in the letter is on the staff of a county school -- and remained on the job Friday. The school principal was among those receiving the mailing, an investigator said.

"We have not been able to confirm it's the same employee," Walsh said.

In a copy mailed to The Sun, the letter's author claims to be the parent of middle school children and to have found explicit photos of a teacher while monitoring their Internet use.

The writer of the letter, which had numerous grammatical and spelling errors, implied that the person in the photo teaches one of his or her children.

The letter states that a child in the household had found "extremely explicit" pictures of the teacher despite computer software intended to block pornographic images.

J. Mark Black, supervisor of investigations for county schools, said he was "skeptical" of the validity of the photo because it lacked a Web site address, typically present on material downloaded from the Internet.

"The Internet site identified in the letter doesn't appear to exist," Black said.

Attempts by The Sun to locate the mailed image through the Internet were unsuccessful, although they turned up numerous pornography sites -- including one through a search including the last name of the teacher given in the letter.

"As a responsible parent I intercepted this vile and offensive material before it left my home and was distributed among the children at school," the letter states.

The letter writer expresses outrage that county schools would employ "a person who exhibits these immoral behaviors" after the sex scandal seven years ago involving social studies teacher Ronald W. Price at Northeast High School.

Price was convicted of sexually abusing three students and died of cancer while serving a 26-year prison sentence. The incident led to the superintendent's resignation and investigations of sexual abuse allegations against three other teachers at the Pasadena school.

Pub Date: 5/07/00

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