Boyle County Middle School teacher fired

March 19, 2004|GARY MOYERS

A Boyle County Middle School teacher on administrative leave since January following the alleged videotaping of students changing clothes has been fired.

Mark Starr was quietly terminated March 3 by Supt. Pam Rogers, but the move had to be formalized by the school board, and that was done Thursday night.

Starr, 128 Daugherty Road, was suspended in late January after the parent of a student complained to school administrators that his daughter had been videotaped while changing clothes in an audio-visual room.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Chris Lanham said this morning criminal charges have not been filed against Starr.

"The investigation is continuing, and there is no timetable for completion," he said. He declined to comment on whether or not the case would come before a Boyle County Grand Jury in April.


Boyle County Board of Education communications director Paul Elwyn said the termination was a result of an internal investigation independent of the police investigation. He said the internal investigation yielded information justifying the termination. He added the investigation was strictly for the school community and was "conducted in the best interests of our students."

Elwyn said the district would have no further comment on the matter. Starr was hired by the Boyle system in 2000 and taught career explorations and technology at the middle school. Attempts to contact him this morning were unsuccessful.

The incident in question allegedly occurred Jan. 20 when some students in a photography class needed a place to change into costumes. According to the mother of one of the girls involved, the girls were told they could change clothing in a room used for audio-visual recording.

The parent said one of the girls realized a camera was on while she was in the office, and she removed the tape and took it home to show to her parents. Some of the students apparently approached assistant principal Rob Pendygraft the next day with their concerns about the possibility that a tape or tapes existed. Rogers said Pendygraft reacted by calling his supervisors, and state police were contacted within the hour.

Starr was placed on administrative leave Jan. 22 after police began their investigation. State police executed a search warrant three days later at Starr's home and removed a computer and related equipment for examination, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Bottoms.

Bottoms said immediately after the incident came to light that the initial focus of the investigation was to ensure future similar incidents would not occur. He said potential charges could range from misdemeanor voyeur and unlawful transaction with a minor to felony and even federal charges if unlawful material is transmitted via mail or the Internet.

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