Broadneck High School teacher charged with child porn - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Broadneck High School teacher charged with child porn

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Erin Thorne (Anne Arundel County Police Department) Erin Thorne (Anne Arundel County Police Department)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -

Anne Arundel County Police have arrested a Broadneck High School teacher on a child pornography charge and a related misdemeanor offense. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave since last November after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Erin Nicole Thorne, 28, has been charged with one count of child porn solicit subject and one count of display obscene matter to minor.

Police say the school system began an investigation on the possible inappropriate relationship after receiving an anonymous tip on November 12. School investigators interviewed students and learned Thorne may have had a relationship with a male student who graduated from the school in spring of 2011.

Anne Arundel County Police say detectives later learned from the former student that he had formed a friendship with the teacher during his senior year and the teacher began sending him sexually explicit text messages. They continued to exchange sexually explicit text messages and images at the request of the teacher before he was 18 years old. Police say they learned sexual activity occurred between the two, but after the student turned 18 years old.

Thorne turned herself into police on Tuesday.


Letter sent to Broadneck High School parents:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

As you are aware, English teacher and former basketball coach Erin Thorne has been away from Broadneck High School since being placed on administrative leave by Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) in mid-November. As you may already be aware, the Anne Arundel County Police Department has charged Ms. Thorne with felony solicitation of child pornography and a related misdemeanor offense.

The news release issued by the Anne Arundel County Police Department has been attached to this letter so that you can have the information exactly as it was disseminated. In light of these charges, the Board of Education will be receiving a recommendation that Ms. Thorne be suspended pending termination from employment with AACPS.

We want you to know that both Broadneck High School and AACPS have worked closely with police since allegations of inappropriate conduct first came to light. Ms. Thorne has had no contact through our school system with students since being placed on administrative leave.

We also have provided â€" and will continue to provide â€" appropriate resources to any student or staff member who is affected by this situation. We encourage you to discuss this matter with your children as well, and contact our school counselors if your children need support.

While this entire situation brings up many troubling emotions, we urge you to keep in mind the sensitivity of this situation. As the legal proceedings play out, our children and their welfare should continue to be our focus.

This is a great community with great parental support. We have achieved great things together, and we will continue to do so.

We hope you understand that we cannot discuss specific details of what is still an ongoing investigation. We will, however, do everything we can to address your concerns. Please feel free to call the school at 410-757-1300 if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Kevin M. Maxwell, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

David G. Smith, Ph.D., Principal, Broadneck High School


Board of Education President Andrew Pruski, Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, and Broadneck High School Principal David Smith released the following statements today regarding the situation at Broadneck High School and the charges against teacher Erin Thorne:

Statement of Board of Education President Andrew Pruski:

"As a father I am deeply disturbed that someone whose obligation it is to care for the welfare of children could put themselves in a position to bring about charges such as these. There is a legal process here that must be allowed to play out, but our Board is charged with doing everything we can to protect every one of the nearly 78,000 children in our school system. We intend to see that we carry out that duty."

Statements of Superintendent Kevin Maxwell:

"The kind of behavior that Erin Thorne is charged with engaging in cannot be tolerated at any school in our county, or in our nation for that matter. Preying on children in any way should not be excused for a single moment."

"We have acted swiftly and prudently in this investigation, and have worked closely with investigators as they have done their work. Ms. Thorne has been on administrative leave since we first learned of allegations of inappropriate conduct, and I will be recommending to the Board of Education that she now be suspended pending termination from employment with Anne Arundel County Public Schools."

Statement of Broadneck Principal David Smith:

"We have a great school and a great community that supports our Broadneck students in their individual quests for excellence. It saddens me that charges like this cast a negative light on our school and tarnish the incredible work that our staff, parents, and students do on a daily basis. We are a resilient school, however, and I have no doubt that we will band together so that our students continue to excel."


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