Substitute Teacher Faces 40 Years in Prison for Porn Found on Classroom Computer

I found this at dvorak.com/blog.

Here is the original article.

Here is an OPED/Analysis.


Piecing together the evidence, we can get an idea as of what happened that day: Teacher Matthew Napp logged [Julie] Amero, a substitute for the day, into the classroom computer, and told her not to turn off the computer, as he was leaving for the day. Amero used the computer briefly, and then allowed students to access the computer.

The children went to an innocuous Web site which, unknown to them, loaded a small program (a "script") that showed pornographic popups. Amero immediately stepped in and shielded the children from the images, pushing them away or physically blocking them from seeing the images.

She reported the incident, telling other teachers about the problem, one of whom promised to get the school principal to help (no assistance ever came).

At the end of the day, she reported the problem to the assistant principal, who told her not to worry.


The computer was also found to be riddled with spyware -- programs that generate popups and degrade system stability.

Spyware may or may not have played a direct part in this incident, but the fact it was on the system creates additional damning evidence of the state of this computer system. What is extraordinary is the prosecution admitted there was no search made for spyware -- an incredible blunder akin to not checking for fingerprints at a crime scene.

It was only through the expert forensic examination by W. Herbert Horner it became clear the machine was infected.

Sadly, further critical and exonerating information was not allowed in court.

David Smith, the prosecutor, said Amero intended to access the porn sites because she had to "physically click" to "get to those sites."

That is so patently wrong it boggles the mind.

When a popup occurs on a computer, it will get shown as a visited Web site and no "physical click" is necessary. The graphic images in the popup also get stored on the computer.

Was this false statement by Smith why Amero got convicted? No, much of the case apparently came down to the prosecution's self-righteous statement "she should have turned off the computer," which is absurd.

Consider Amero was not computer literate (and not trained on the equipment), working that day as a substitute teacher under orders not to turn off the computer, and was arguably shocked and feeling somewhat helpless by the situation.

It's not hard to protect your computer. Run updated anitvirus (can be automatic). Keep your OS patched (can be automatic). Keep your browser patched (can be automatic). Use a firewall (If you have a wireless router, you probabaly already have a firewall -- not recurring action needed). Run a pop-up blocker or pop-up hostile browser (can be automatic).

It's a shame the school district didn't follow such basic principles and even more ridiculous that a prosecutor is more concerned with headlines than justice.

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