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Computer-Pornography Case Settled

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To the disappointment of some of her supporters, a teacher subject to controversial computer-pornography charges has settled her case. For Julie Amero, surrendering her teaching license was well worth the price to end a four-year nightmare.

In October 2004, as a 7th grade substitute teacher in Norwich, Conn., Amero was charged with accessing pornographic Web sites and exposing students to sexual images, according to the Norwich Bulletin. Amero’s defense contended that she didn’t call up the images intentionally, saying that she was new to e-mail at the time and was being bombarded by pop-up ads as a result of the computer’s expired software license. Nonetheless, in 2007, a jury convicted Amero on four counts of endangering minors, which carried a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Subsequently, a team of lawyers and computer-security experts, led by Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software, took on Amero’s cause and succeeded in getting the guilty verdict overturned. A retrial was being pressed, but last week Amero accepted a bargain with state prosecutors, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. She paid a $100 fine and lost her teaching license.

Amero’s supporters, many of them technology professionals, are frustrated that she pled guilty at all. Yet, having suffered from stress-related health problems, including a miscarriage and heart complications that landed her in the hospital, Amero told Rick Green of the Hartford Courant, "Oh honey, it’s over. I feel wonderful."

5 Comments

The stress of a trial is overwhelming. Her settling is more than understandable.

A great lesson for kids:

Technology can be a pain in the rear.

If you screw up, sometimes it gets blown out of proportion.

Sometimes the "justice system" is not so just, and you're lucky to have survived it.

I'd say they're lifetime lessons....

I do understand that the stress on her and her family was overwhelming. I'm sure people in her community and even in the teaching community were wondering if she really did it. That in itself is enough stress. As a person who works with Technology 24/7 I know how these things can happen. I'm sure many of the professionals that were putting this substitute teacher through trials and expense have also experienced the many pop-ups that can be encountered when software virus subscriptions expire or firewalls are not in place.

With the teacher shortage we are facing, instances such as this will continue to cause shortages. We will see a decline in the number of people who go into education and the veteran teachers who are already afraid of technology will not use it in the classroom.

Even though she surrendered her license and took a plea agreement I feel the Department of Education should return her license and this case should be expunged from her record and she deserves some compensation for the stress she has been put through.

Congrats to Julie for getting the monkey off her back. Her freedom is worth far more than being an itinerent educational day-laborer.

Boos and hisses to the education administrators and technology staff who put Julie at risk through their technical incompetence and lack of training.

A loud raspberry to the prosecutors who in "getting tough" made a scapegoat of someone who took on the thankless job of being a substitute teacher.

Here's the unfortunate message: "You want to teach - how about a life of poverty and lack of esteem? Oh, by the way, if you mess up, you might lose your freedom as well." Anybody else wonder why our best and brightest avoid public education (or only join for the first few years after college before departing to greener pastures)?

Amen! to Sharon and Doug.

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Recent Comments

  • tim: Amen! to Sharon and Doug. read more
  • Doug Stein: Congrats to Julie for getting the monkey off her back. read more
  • Sharon: I do understand that the stress on her and her read more
  • Tom: A great lesson for kids: Technology can be a pain read more
  • John: The stress of a trial is overwhelming. Her settling is read more

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