Feeds

Smut pop-up teacher case finally resolved with misdemeanor plea

Campaigners vindicated but has justice been served?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The long-running prosecution of substitute teacher Julie Amero on spyware smut-serving charges finally came to an end on Friday.

Prosecutors agreed to drop four felony charges of endangering minors in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

The case stems from an incident in 2004 when a PC in Amero's class, later found to be infected with smut-serving malware, displayed pornographic images to her seventh-grade students. The incident at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, Connecticut in October 2004 led to charges against the then pregnant substitute teacher.

A jury returned a guilty verdict against Amero at her original trial in January 2007. But the verdict was set aside by the judge in the case, Hillary Strackbein, five months later, clearing the way for a new trial. Last week's plea agreement finally resolves the case but the outcome is still unsatisfactory. Amero may have escaped with a fine of only $100 instead of facing a prison sentence of anything up to 40 years but she's lost her teaching license in Connecticut. The long-running case has also taken a toll on her health, local paper the Hartford Courant reports.

Amero's plight became a cause-celebre in information security circles with Sunbelt Software chief exec Alex Eckelberry among those leading the campaign on her behalf. Supporters argue Amero is an innocent victim of a spyware-infected machine and have fought a long running campaign on her behalf, as explained in a blog posting by Eckelberry here.

Prosecutors criticise her for not acting promptly to shut the machine off when it displayed dodgy images, but that fails to take into account evidence that the teacher knew little about computers or that the school had failed to update the child protection filter software running on her PC. Adding to the perceived injustices of the case defence expert witness W. Herbert Horner has told how he was stopped from presenting key evidence that malware, rather than the prior actions of the teacher, could have explained the offending pop-ups, which came from sites including meetlovers.com.

Local prosecutors refused to admit mistakes had been made in the case despite a wealth of evidence from computer security experts, even after the trial judge ordered a retrial. This bodes ill if something similar ever crops up again. Perhaps it would be well for the voluntary community of security pros that have come together on Amero's behalf stayed in touch. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.