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.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.