It’s a sad case when someone loses their career over an incident which was outside of their control, not everyone can be expected to keep their computers free of spyware and malware.
It just doesn’t happen.
Unfortunately for Julie Amero, she got some porn pop-ups at the wrong time in a class full of students. If you aren’t familiar with the case you can read the Wiki entry – State of Connecticut v. Julie Amero.
On Friday, prosecutors reached a plea agreement with the former Connecticut schoolteacher who at one time faced up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of endangering minors. The charges stemmed from a 2004 incident in which a computer loaded with spyware displayed pornography to her students.
State prosecutors dropped four felony charges of “risk of injury to a minor” against her, with Amero pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor, according to the Hartford Courant.
A jury convicted Amero of the felony charges in January 2007, but the presiding judge in the case, Hillary Strackbein, set aside that verdict five months later, essentially granting Amero a new trial.
It’s amazing that she could even face up to 40 year behind bars for this fairly simply and completely innocuous incident.
At least the sentence she got wasn’t too harsh, she did have her teaching privileges revoked however and this case has been hanging over her for the past 4 years – which can’t have been good for her either.
Amero will pay a US$100 charge and have her Connecticut teaching credentials revoked, said Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry, who led the team of computer investigators that analyzed the school’s computer and concluded that Amero was innocent.
“The stress of this thing,… it just totally freaked her out,” Eckelberry said Friday. “For four years she’s been sitting there with this thing hanging over her.”
“It’s disappointing that it wasn’t dropped, but on the other hand I’m happy she got her life back,” he added.
Amero had become a cause celebre to computer security professionals who argued that she was an innocent victim of spyware programs that took control of a poorly configured computer on Oct. 19, 2004, at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, Connecticut, where Amero had been a substitute teacher.
I hope it hasn’t detrimentally effected her psychologically and she can now get back to her life and pursuing some other kind of non-teaching career.
You can read Julie Amero’s blog here, which has some additional info about her story.
Sometimes it makes you wonder who the legal system is meant to protect, doesn’t it?
Source: Network World