Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

AOL INITIATES INVESTIGATION INTO CAMBRIDGE 5TH GRADE TEACHER CHARGED IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE

Josh Wairi, 27, of Somerville, and hereinafter, the “Defendant”, was arrested Thursday. He is now being held without bail in federal custody until he faces a detention hearing on Wednesday.

We began discussing this case on Friday. The Defendant is/was a 5th grade teacher in Cambridge and has allegedly made all sorts of confessions for some unknown reasons.

As usual, the press have copies of the affidavit filed by law enforcement. Despite the fact that the Defendant is alleged to have admitted guilt, there is much we do not know about this case…including what, if any, defense is planned. While you might not know it to look at it, he is still presumed to be innocent.

The distancing from the Defendant has already taken place, of course. There are liability concerns, after all. Cambridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Young says that he feels “shocked and betrayed” by the arrest of the Defendant. He hastens to add that a full background check was conducted before the Defendant was hired. Further, of course, Young added there was no evidence to suggest anything took place at school.

A joint statement released by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi said the alleged acts shocked them both.

“It is difficult to comprehend how a seemingly functional person with no criminal record could victimize children in such a horrible way,” the joint statement said. “The criminal justice system will deal with this individual. What we however must do now is come together as a community.”

Apparently, the Defendant was a student teacher at John F. Kennedy School during the 2008-09 school year and also worked in Somerville at the Arthur D. Healy School as a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher from 2009-11 and worked as a fifth-grade teacher from 2011-12.

You can bet there is some second guessing going on in those places as well.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Internet Privacy And Security

I found the origin of this matter rather interesting.

It was actually initiated by AOL. Apparently, AOL says that it noticed suspicious emailing and so alerted the federal government. Because these emails took place on the internet and allegedly crossed state (and national) borders, the feds have jurisdiction.

It was not so long ago that there was a debate as to whether internet service providers would (or should) follow requests of law enforcement for records or whether they would protect their customers’ privacy. It would seem that we have come a long way since then. Now, at least in the case of AOL, no prosecutorial request is even necessary!

Which brings to mind a question. I know that, since September 11, 2001, there have been all kinds of security measures upon which law enforcement relies. Usually, we are told that this is necessary for security reasons to combat potential terrorist threats. Apparently, there are ways for our government to be alerted when such threats are planned. Further, it is no secret that law enforcement regularly patrols various websites to battle things like child pornography, child endangerment and, of course, the heart-stoppingly vicious crime of prostitution.

In this case, it was not the government which came upon a website. Instead, it was AOL “suddenly” taking notice of the content within emails.

Are we to expect now that AOL, and similar providers, have been deputized to review our emails as they are sent?

What concerns me most is that these little increases in our losse of privacy are not even noticed. One never knows where it will end…if it even will.

I am reminded of Ben Franklin’s old chestnut, that those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. Things are not always so black and white, of course. But I have to wonder about potential abuse.

Abuse as I see it almost every day in our criminal justice system.

“What do you care, Sam? Don’t we want to protect our children at all cost?”

I suppose so. But then, you’ve got to remember that the term “at all cost” means all cost. Would we be so comfortable with every home being equipped with a 24 hour video camera watching our every move? It would certainly make things safer, no?

I guess that’s a question of “safer from who“?

And, I guess, that’s what concerns me.

Anyway, Happy Patriot’s Day!

To read the original story upon which this blog is based please go to http://www.wcvb.com/news/cambridge-middle-school-teacher-charged-with-possessing-child-pornography/25537506#!Ff9TF

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