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Popular teacher arrested for sex offenses and other charges

A clever mobile phone app allows people to send a photo that disappears on the recipient's unit after a few seconds. It's apparently a favored method to send nude or other insensitive pictures without proof that it was done. However, one young woman this past June disrupted that popular image. She took a screen picture to preserve the photo, and in the aftermath of an ensuing investigation, the 44-year-old New York teacher who sent it is now under arrest on 36 criminal charges, including a number of sex offenses.

The man taught physics, math and aerospace at Brooklyn Tech, a high school with some 5,400 students. The students who knew him the best apparently revered him as a special teacher, who spoke on their level, wore jeans, gave them cigarettes, listened to them in confidence. Dozens of students stated their admiration for the teacher and disavowed knowing about any alleged wrongdoing.  He had brought in a flight simulator and taught students how to use it.

The police, however, have accused the popular teacher of kidnapping, sexual acts, obscenity, child endangerment and sexual abuse, among other charges. He remains in prison. Bail was set at a figure that seems to reflect an overkill by the authorities: $1 million bond or $600,000 cash. The specifics involve the photo that he sent on Snapchat, which is alleged to be a picture of his penis.

He is generally accused of preying on seven female students over a three-year period. He is also alleged to have had sex with two of the girls he knew, after they reached 17, the age of consent. Authorities allege that he gave them alcohol and cigarettes, exchanged "racy" text messages and photos, took one to a nude beach and another to a sex club. However, his New York criminal defense attorney reports that several of his students want to talk on his behalf. A defense may be partially in the making, based on the argument that much of what he is charged with has more to do with excess familiarity than with illegal sex offenses.

Source: The New York Times, "Brooklyn Tech Teacher Was Known as Cool Friend, Until His Arrest", Kim Barker and Kate Taylor, Oct. 1, 2014

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