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Sunday, 22 October 2017 00:00

Six students at a local college reached a $660,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit after being the subjects of inappropriate photographs taken by a teacher.

Written by Jonathan Druckman

Adam Mayr, an English teacher and a resident of Washington Township was arrested in March 2015 for allegedly using a special camera located in a pen to take up-skirt photos.

The settlement agreement between the school was reached in August of 2017. The students were among two dozen girls who had been secretly photographed in class by Adam Mayr with his pen camera. He was arrested in March of 2015 when a student thought that his use of the pen was odd and searched for camera pen on the internet. The same type of pen then appeared in her results before she reported the incident. He had been an English teacher at the school since 2002. Some of the girls were as young as fourteen years old. Mayr was also a tennis coach to the boys’ team at the school.

In the classroom, Mayr allegedly treated female students much stricter than the male students. He would call them up this his desk to scold them in front of the class. However, his real reason for admonishing the students seemed to be in order to snap photographs under their blouses or dresses with his hidden camera. Mayr later pleaded guilty to charges that left him sentenced to a decade in prison. The presiding judge at his criminal sentence refused to grant Mayr’s request that the guilty plea should be kept from later civil proceedings. The standard necessary in criminal proceedings is beyond a reasonable doubt but in the typical civil trial it is only a preponderance of the evidence.

Although observers can only speculate as to why Mr. Mayr took a plea deal, if he believed that he would have been found guilty in a criminal trial, then he almost certainly would be found guilty in subsequent civil trials because of the lower burden of proof. One of the most prominent examples of the difference between the burden of proof is from the OJ Simpson trials. He was found not guilty of murder at the criminal trials, where the standard of proof required to secure a conviction is beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in the civil trial that followed, where there was a lower standard of proof, he was found responsible for his ex-wife’s death and subject to a large monetary damage award.

In this case, the victims claimed that the school board was negligent in its hiring and retention of Mr. Mayr. The photographs that remained undetected until a student noticed the camera pen were all stored on a school computer. Further, the suit alleges that Mayr created a hostile class room environment for the female students in his class. Here, the settlement agreement was only reached between the students and the Board of Education of the Special Services School District and Vocational School District of the County of Gloucester. The perpetrator, Mayr, is still a defendant in the civil case and the students are still seeking damages directly against him. “Mayr will not get a free ride from the school's settlement of the claims," said attorney Michael J. McKenna of Cherry Hill.

If you believe you were the victim of sexual harassment either at school or in the workplace you may be entitled to damages. Call the experienced attorneys at Druckman & Hernandez to discuss your rights. Our number is 908-353-5850. Don’t settle for speaking to a paralegal or secretary our attorneys are available 7 days a week.

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