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Award-winning teacher accused of Internet sex offenses

The Internet has facilitated a new frontier for the commission of criminal offenses. One big concern is the use by individual adults to use the Internet to commit sex offenses, which often involve minor children as the victims. In New York and elsewhere, it is becoming clear that people from all walks of life are emerging as defendants in prosecutions involving alleged sexual misconduct through online activities.

In New York, a teacher who has received several teaching awards and commendations was arrested recently for sex offenses charging him with getting teen boys to send him nude or suggestive photos in return for gift cards. The charges have been filed in the federal district court in Manhattan. He is accused of paying three teens over $500 in gift cards during a six month period for photos of them. In one photo, the teen allegedly posed with an erection; in the other photos the boys were clothed but allegedly posed suggestively.

The 32-year-old science teacher is alleged to have used a fake name and to have impersonated a male teenager when making his communications. The FBI reportedly traced the defendant's address through the use of Internet protocol addresses, a technique that should put to rest any thought that people may navigate with privacy on the net. One of the computers he used reportedly belonged to the New York City public school system.

The defendant is charged with the production, receiving and possessing of child pornography. The case against him, however, seems to boil down to the one photo of a nude boy. The remaining reported photos appear to be of fully clothed boys. New York criminal defense counsel will determine whether the one photo is sufficient to be classified as child pornography under the established case law. If the evidence is solid, then negotiations for a probationary sentence may be successful, based on the limited extent of the sex offenses that may have occurred.

Source: The New York Times, "Bronx Teacher Faces Pornography Charges; Accused of Paying Boys for Photos", Kate Taylor, March 6, 2015

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