For the second time in two weeks, residents of Newton, have been treated to the news of a teacher being charged with possession of child pornography.

This time, it is Peter Buchanan (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), 47, a 10-year city employee who most recently worked in the Newton Public Library’s audio visual section. The State Police say that the Defendant downloaded and shared the material. The Defendant has pleaded not guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of material depicting a child in a sexual act.

Yes, well, we know how seriously we all consider that…!

Anyway, the fact scenario in this case is a bit more commonplace than the one a week or so ago. In that one, David Ettlinger, a well-respected and much loved second grade teacher at the Underwood Elementary School was charged with actually sexually assaulting a girl and filming it. This would be, among other things, actually creating the child pornography. In fact, investigators in that case claim that he posted his works to an international website that trafficked in child pornography .

Usually, as in the case with the Defendant, the charges are simply possessing and more remotely distributing. Not that the allegations are generally treated less seriously.

The community, of course, is in a uproar and seeking who else can be blamed other than the two alleged perpetrators.

Criminal investigators have said the two cases are unrelated, but the cases have sparked a round of soul-searching among city officials and residents and drawn pointed questions from parents about what more public institutions can do to protect their children. While the mayor and school superintendent have pledged to review screening procedures, other officials are shrugging their collective shoulders admitting that both accused gentlemen had successfully passed background checks and the usual “vetting”.

Of course, something is clearly wrong here. As it turns out, at least according to the Commonwealth, beloved Mr. Ettlinger was living a dual identity. He was also known as “ee1″…an internet identity who allegedly advertised graphic videos on the Dreamboard Website.

But, as Susan Brown, a family therapist who’s daughter had him as a teacher, points out, “There was never an inclination of it [activities outside of school on which he took students] being weird”. She also explains that people gravitated toward him because he always seemed happy. “If he was older and looked different and wasn’t handsome and wasn’t friendly,” she added, “people would be reacting differently.”

Attorney Sam’s Take On Easy Answers That Put Us All At Risk

It is not unusual to read this Boston criminal lawyer telling you that the “quick and easy” answers that are often so politically expedient seldom solve criminal justice problems.

In fact, as I keep spouting, they generallt make them worse.

In this case, many of the quotes in the original news stories contain concerns about how this makes Newton look. Others I have mentioned above talk about the problems of “normal” looking folks turning out to be criminal suspects who harm the vulnerable among us. One is reminded of the late Ted Bundy, famed handsome intelligent law student who turned out to be a serial rapist and murderer.

Perhaps it is time to change the model somewhat.

But then…that is not what this blog is about.

For us, the question is what this has to do with you in terms of criminal justice.

What it means, quite simply, is along with potential victims of these crimes, you are likely more at risk too.

“How is that, Sam? I mean…assuming I look normal and am not a kid?”

Ahh…that is the point.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two.

For the original article upon which this blog is based, please go to

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