Friday, September 12, 2008

Roy, Utah High School Students Seek To Get Former Teacher Kamron Klitgaard Reinstated After Child Porn Computer Charges Dropped

Update October 1st: Roy City Attorney Andrew Blackburn still hasn't decided whether to press misdmeanor charges. Updated post HERE.

Students at Roy High School in Roy, Utah are leading a campaign to get former drama teacher Kamron Klitgaard reinstated after charges against him related to child pornography were dropped in July 2008. Current story with video posted September 12th, 2008 by KSL Channel 5.

The students have initiated a petition campaign to help Klitgaard get his job back. The petition calls for the Weber County School District to reinstate Klitgaard as the director of the school's theater department and drama teacher, adding that he was a mentor and role model for many students. Here's the url of the petition site:

One unidentified student spoke to KSL in support of the initiative. He said, "Kam was an amazing guy. He taught me a lot, inspired me to do a lot in my acting career, and he was someone I could trust".

Here are links to the various media stories covering his original arrest and his ultimate exoneration:

- KUTV Channel 2 January 26th: Utah Teacher Jailed For Child Porn On High School Computers (with video)
- Deseret News January 27th via Teacher May Face 12 Porn Counts
- Deseret News July 22nd: Child Pornography Case Dropped Against Ex-Teacher

According to a summary of the original media stories, on January 25th, 2008, Kamron Klitgaard was arrested and booked into Weber County Jail on two felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 10 misdemeanor counts of distributing pornographic material, after a two-month investigation and examination of computers routinely accessible to him. According to authorities, three computers at Roy High School used by Klitgaard were found by forensic technicians to contain images of child pornography. Another computer at the teacher's home also contained illegal images. Klitgaard had already been placed on paid administrative leave by Roy High School on January 4th, and was terminated on February 1st.

However, on July 21st, prosecutors agreed to drop the two felony charges against Klitgaard "in the interests of justice", although they reserved the option to push for a misdemeanor charge in the future. The latter did not materialize.

But according to supporters of Kamron Klitgaard, the original media stories contained a number of deficiencies. They have posted a complete and corrected version of events on the petition website. To ensure maximum dissemination of the corrected information, I am cross-posting it here in its entirety:

1. Kamron Klitgaard TURNED IN HIS OWN computer to school technicians after experiencing numerous problems with pop-ups and adware. After the technician discovered what appeared to be a child pornography image and another "questionable" image on the computer. Mr. Klitgaard was eager to prove his innocence and again TURNED OVER HIS OWN home computer and 2 other school computers (Another laptop and a desktop). All was voluntary and without a warrant from the police. Keep in mind we now have 4 computers, not 3 as reported. The fourth, which is left out of every media report, was the laptop Mr. Klitgaard had used most often, both at home and school for 4 years, and was found to be completely clean. No pornography of ANY kind. ALSO, it was reported that "Child pornography was found on all 3 computers." If this were true, why then would there not be 3 felony charges instead of the official 2?

2. Pornographic images were found on 1 of 3 school computers and his home computer. HOWEVER, according to the police report, the images found on his home computer had time stamps prior to October of 2007, the date when Mr. Klitgaard acquired the computer into his possession. There were NO pornographic image time stamps after this date.

3. "Distributing pornographic material" was NEVER a charge Mr. Klitgaard was accused of as reported by local media. According to the prosecuting attorney, this was a mistake in the booking codes by a local authority. No misdemeanors were filed. Only 2 felonies for the 2 "questionable" images.

A similar case took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. Former National Vanguard Director Kevin Alfred Strom was also charged with possessing child porn images on his computer. It was only a few images, but instead of standing firm like Kamron Klitgaard, he wussed out and pleaded guilty. As a result, he served jail time, is now under probation for 15 years, and is permanently disgraced. But he may have also been victimized just like Kamron Klitgaard.

The fact is, malware and Trojan Horses can plant porn on your computer without your knowledge, and it happens far more frequently than we realize. Read the story of Michael Fiola HERE. Read the story of Julie Amero HERE and HERE. And here's another article which describes how it can happen without your knowledge.

Nobody can blame the Weber School District for terminating Kamron Klitgaard on February 1st; the district couldn't be expected to carry him on the payroll indefinitely while the case was being adjudicated. But now that Klitgaard has been exonerated, it's time for the district to do the right thing and reinstate him. Signing the petition will help to convince the district that this is indeed the right thing. You don't have to be from Utah to sign it, and you can sign as Anonymous if you like, but please consider signing with your real name to increase the credibility of the petition.

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