James Lefton – Carmel High School Teacher stole kids pictures off surveillance cameras PERVERT

A Carmel High School computer technician who was fired this week for downloading images of girls from high school surveillance cameras was arrested after police said they found child pornography on a school-owned computer at his home.

James Lefton, 36, Carmel, will appear in a Hamilton County court today for an initial hearing on six felony charges of child exploitation. The charges stem from six pornographic images of children, none of whom was a Carmel student, that were found on a computer in his home, said Hamilton County Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie Smith.

School officials had fired Lefton on Monday for downloading the surveillance camera images, which violated the school’s technology use policy.

Lefton first came under suspicion Feb. 7, when Carmel High School officials contacted police. Those officials had received an anonymous complaint about Lefton, said Libbie Conner, assistant superintendent for human resources at Carmel Clay Schools.

“A parent outside of Carmel . . . was questioning messages that her daughter . . . had been receiving through Facebook,” Conner said.

The mother determined the messages on the online social networking site were coming from Lefton, Conner said. Neither the mother nor the 14-year-old girl is from Carmel.
“We immediately notified the police, because we are always going to err on the side of student safety,” Conner said.

Lefton was arrested about noon Thursday after he went to the Carmel Police Department for questioning, Smith said.

“There was more than one computer found in his possession (at his home), and they were property of Carmel Clay Schools,” she added.

The school district began its own investigation and placed Lefton on paid leave Feb. 7. He had worked at the high school for five years as a computer technician.
“He violated our technology use policy,” Conner said. “He actually downloaded some footage of Carmel students from one of our other (surveillance) systems and sent them to his home computer.”

Lefton downloaded images of two female students from surveillance camera recordings. The cameras are installed in the high school’s hallways and locker areas, Conner said. The school has contacted the girls and their parents.

“There was nothing pornographic or anything wrong with those, but the fact that he had done that for whatever reason and transferred them to his home computer, that’s a violation of our policy,” she said.

Because Lefton didn’t teach a class, he didn’t interact with students on a daily basis, Conner said. He sometimes had contact with students while trouble-shooting in computer labs, she said.
“Our number one priority is to protect the safety of the students,” Conner said. “We certainly cooperated with police. . . . We are so regretful that something like this happened.”

Lefton remained in the Hamilton County Jail on a $30,000 bond Thursday night. If found guilty of the six charges, he would face a maximum of 18 years in prison.

An initial court hearing was set for 1:15 p.m. today in a Hamilton County magistrate court.
The Fishers-based Hamilton County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Carmel Police Department conducted the investigation.

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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