When Leigh Anne Arthur momentarily left the high school classroom she taught in South Carolina in February, a 16-year-old male student grabbed the teacher’s phone and stole nude photos of her. The student, whose name has not been released to the press, then distributed the photos at school— also printing out copies, scrawling threatening messages on the back, and leaving them in the teacher’s mailbox at home for her husband to find.
As the Daily Dot reported March 2, Arthur was forced to resign the next day, with school superintendent David Eubanks stating concerns over Arthur “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” The teacher—whose 13-year career came to an abrupt halt—complained to local media, saying that the student had not been expelled and that “the whole premise of my privacy being invaded is being ignored.”
But on Friday, police announced that the student had been arrested and charged with Computer Crimes Act and Aggravated Voyeurism—two charges frequently pieced together in lieu of existing revenge porn laws when someone hacks personal electronics to distribute nude or sexualized photos of a victim.
An online petition launched by students asking to have Arthur reinstated quickly surpassed its goal of receiving 1,000 signatures: By Saturday, the petition had been signed a stunning 12,526 times.
The student petition was updated Friday with a passage lambasting the school superintendent, who allegedly called the petition “insignificant” despite its many signatures demanding the teacher get her job back.
According to WSPA, Union, South Carolina, Police Chief Sam White said that a forensic investigation had revealed the photos on Arthur’s phone were locked in a separate passcode-protected folder that the student had managed to hack into.
Police said the student is being detained in Columbia, South Carolina, at the Department of Juvenile Justice. Arthur told WSPA she plans on officially pressing charges against him next week.
Photo via Faris Algosaibi/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)