NEW ORLEANS — A teacher at Sophie B. Wright Charter School in New Orleans has been arrested on charges of sending pornographic images to students' phones.
New Orleans Police say Damon M. Williams, 32, was arrested Monday at the school. On Tuesday, police booked him with two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student. Williams' bond was set at $150,000. It was unclear if he has an attorney. A hearing in his case was scheduled for Jan. 12.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1wWCSpk ) Principal Sharon L. Clark said administrators called police after the parent of a student told them of the alleged photo distribution.
Clark described Williams as "a very hard-working teacher." But she said Williams has been suspended in his third year at the school, where he taught keyboarding.
"I really have no comment until I understand more of what happened," Clark said. "The (school's) board is dealing with it, but he is not an active teacher at this time."
According to Williams' arrest report, school administrators called NOPD special victims section detective Nijel Baddoo after a woman reported the pornographic images sent to her son's phone. While Baddoo was examining the text messages and pictures, Williams allegedly sent another message to the student's phone, the detective wrote.
The report said Baddoo found Williams in his classroom, where the teacher "admitted that he sent the images."
Baddoo said his investigation determined four male students had received images from the teacher. The ages of the boys were not disclosed, but the school serves middle and high school students in grades 6 through 12.
Clark said school policy forbids teachers to engage with students in any type of social media. She said the nature of the shared images prompted her immediate call to police.
"Our first priority is the safety of our students," Clark said. "We are the ones who proactively contacted the police, out of concern for the safety of our students."
Court records show this is not Williams' first arrest on similar allegations.
In October 2008, police booked Williams with obscenity after a 17-year-old male student told police he "received a picture message of a penis" the teacher sent to his cellphone. At that time, Williams was a choir teacher at the now-defunct L.E. Rabouin High School. He was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, but court records show prosecutors refused the charge on Nov. 17, 2008.
It is unclear whether Sophie Wright was aware of the previous case since it was not prosecuted.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com
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