Ex-Raleigh teacher gets at least five years in prison for bathroom photos of boys
Posted September 28, 2015 11:31 a.m. EDT
Updated September 28, 2015 6:41 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A former teacher at a private school in Raleigh was sentenced Monday to at least five years in prison for taking photos of students in the bathroom.
Scott Anthony Mann, 38, of the 1900 block of Ward Street in Durham, pleaded guilty to three counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. He was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of 20 to 33 months in prison.
Mann took photos of boys ages 8, 9, and 12 last fall while they were in the bathroom at St. David's School, an independent Episcopal school on White Oak Drive in Raleigh where he worked as a music teacher.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said a boy caught Mann snapping a picture over the stall of a bathroom at St David's, prompting an investigation.
Mann admitted to taking photos of boys at St. David's and members of the North Carolina Boys Choir, where he served as associate director for a number of years. He also said in court that he set up hidden cameras at the Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham and other public restrooms to take photos of boys.
"There were approximately seven young boys identified at the choir and 10 at St. David's School," Shekita said.
Mann apologized in a statement read in court by his attorney, but he said little beyond that. As part of a plea agreement, he won't face federal charges for more than 100 images of child pornography that investigators on his computer, in addition to the dozens of photos of boys in bathrooms.
Shekita criticized St. David's officials, saying they got word Mann was taking bathroom photos but never contacted law enforcement.
"There was a period of time when the defendant knew he was under investigation that he had access to his electronics," she said. "I don't know if there was anything that was not recovered as a result of the delay, but obviously, it would have been beneficial to the police department to have been involved early on."
St. David's Headmaster Kevin Lockerbie denied the school stalled the police investigation of the case. In an email to WRAL News, he said school officials took Mann's laptop and cellphone to a forensic lab last fall as part of its investigation into an allegation of misconduct made against him. Once the lab turned up explicit photos on the computer, Lockerbie said, the school fired Mann – he had been on administrative leave during the investigation – and turned over its findings to law enforcement.
"Until we conducted our investigation of the allegations of misconduct, there was nothing to report to law enforcement," Lockerbie said. "Two of the agents involved in this matter told us that the investigation done by our school was the best they had ever observed in cases of this nature."
Shekita also said the North Carolina Boys Choir was slow to suspect Mann of wrongdoing.
About a month before the St. David's student caught Mann taking his picture in the bathroom, she said, members of the choir found a phone that Mann had hidden in a bathroom. Choir officials, however, accused the boys of pulling a prank.
Choir officials a decade ago also ignored a complaint from parents of a member who alleged a sexual relationship between Mann and the boy, believing the boy made up the story, Shekita said. A letter from those parents was read in court Monday, saying their son's encounter with Mann has left long-standing emotional scars.