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Drug counselor accused of sex crimes involving students

Our Maryland readers have learned in previous postings, of the importance of following the letter of the law. During an arrest, police procedures must be followed precisely. During a trial, existing law is used to determine innocence or guilt.

A number of laws and rules of evidence were involved in the arrest and criminal charges filed against a drug counselor. The 34-year-old high school drug counselor was eventually charged with 19 felony counts related to lewd acts, sexual contact and child pornography.

In the past, child pornography was usually a physical photograph. Each photo could be one count of possession. In the case of a video, which runs at 30-frames-per-second, a motion clip of a few seconds could result in hundreds of counts of child pornography. In the case of the drug counselor, he faced charges as a result of video allegedly found on his iPhone.

The investigation began as a result of parents who complained about inappropriate postings, supposedly by the 34-year-old man, on their son's Facebook pages. A search warrant was obtained by authorities in California, which police claim led to the discovery of 14 videos of students engaged in sexual activities in the drug counselor's office.

According to a news report, the accused drug counselor was not in the videos, and the students were unaware that the videos were being created. The prosecution has accused the 34-year-old of making the videos using his iPhone.

There are a number of issues at play in this case. Was the search warrant justified? Who shot the video? Was the search and seizure of the iPhone and computer equipment properly executed?

The accused turned himself in and has pled not guilty. The news story did not mention whether or not high school students would be asked to testify for either the prosecution or the defense.

Source: The Californian, "Salinas police: Drug counselor used iPhone to record students," Sunita Vijayan, March 20,2012

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
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Silver Spring, MD 20910

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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013