What would you do if you were peacefully surfing the Web, on a computer at school, when all of the sudden, your screen was filled with random pornographic images?
I would turn it off, then call “Tech Support.”
Julie Amero, 41, of Windham, Connecticut, lost her Connecticut Teaching License on Friday, for doing nothing, except panicking.
On October 19, 2004, Amero was working as a substitute teacher for seventh graders, in Norwich, CT. When she came into the class, she saw two students near the computer of the teacher’s desk, who were looking at a Web site about hair styles. However, when she approached the desk, she saw new windows opening, displaying pornographic images.
Amero said she was instructed not to turn the computer off. She asked another teacher for help, and was told to ignore the pornography. Three days later, after complaints by parents, Amero was fired.
Not content with firing the clueless Ms. Amero, she was charged, and convicted, of four counts of impairing the morals of a child. The state’s expert witness, Detective Mark Lounsbury (in photo), used a timestamped list Web sites which had been visited, as evidence.
Ms. Amero’s luck changed after her conviction, when notable criminal attorney, William Dow donated his services.
Ms. Amero got a new trial, where a “real” expert witness, testified that the misbehaving computer was infected with malware, which caused it to visit pornographic sites. The computer was originally protected with Symantec WebNOW, but that software had never been updated.
Her case ended, when she pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct, and also surrendered her teaching license.
It would stupefying if Detective Lounsbury, the expert witness, did not notice the malware, and worse if he ignored it. In awarding second trial, Judge said his testimony was “flawed.”
Despite the idiocy of it all, new London County State’s Attorney, Brian Regan was unapologetic. He said:
“I have no regrets. Things took a course that was unplanned. For some reason, this case caught the media’s attention.”