CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WSPA) – A high school student who went through his teacher’s cellphone, found a nude picture of her and posted it online has been charged with a computer crime and voyeurism, authorities said Friday.
Union Public Safety Department Chief Sam White said the student, who is being charged as a juvenile, was taken into custody at Union High School without incident.
The 16-year-old is charged with a count of violating the state’s computer crime act in the second degree and a count of aggravated voyeurism.
He is being held in juvenile detention for a hearing in family court. There have been no other arrests, but the investigation is continuing, the chief said.
Officials say it’s not clear how many people may have seen the social media postings of the photo.
The teacher, Leigh Anne Arthur, has quit her job teaching mechanical and electrical engineering and computer programming at the school’s vocational center.
Arthur, 33, told police on Feb. 18 that while she stepped out of her classroom, a boy took her unlocked smartphone from her desk, opened the photos application and found a nude selfie she had taken for her husband as a Valentine’s Day present.
“He opened up my gallery for my pictures and he found inappropriate pictures of myself and he took pictures from his cell phone of that and then he told the whole class that he would send them to whoever wanted them,” says Arthur.
Arthur says the student warned her that something bad was coming.
“The student who actually took my phone and took my pictures turned around and told me your day of reckoning is coming,” says Arthur.
Since the incident, Arthur says 4 of photos taken from her phone by a student were printed out and put in her mailbox.
She says there was a threatening message to her and her boys on the back of one of them.
Arthur says her husband checked their mailbox and found blown up, 5×7 photos.
The sheriff’s office is investigating and lifting fingerprints.
An online petition has been started, urging school district officials in the community in northwestern South Carolina to give Arthur her job back. The superintendent has said it was the teacher’s fault for leaving students unattended during a four-minute break between classes.
Arthur has one last message for the student who did this: “I forgive you. It don’t make it anymore right. But what’s done is done and I hope you learned your lesson. And I hope that you learned from this mistake and I hope that you have a wife one day that you treat like gold and you won’t want this to ever happen to her.”
The voyeurism charge makes it illegal, for the purpose of sexual gratification, to record or make a digital file of another person without his or her consent. The computer crimes charge makes it illegal to take possession or deprive the owner of a computer of computer data.
Both charges are misdemeanors for a first offense. But if the teen is convicted on both counts he could be sentenced to a maximum fine of $10,500 and four years in prison.