PHOENIX - A Valley teacher is on administrative leave while the school district investigates a series of X-rated photos posted on a Facebook profile.
The North Canyon High School teacher, who is not being identified by ABC15, admitted the sexually explicit pictures were of her, but said she did not post the pictures, according to a Paradise Valley Unified School District spokesperson.
The 20 photos were posted on a Facebook page under the teacher's name. The teacher insists the page, which was created on August 12, is a fake.
The teacher is on leave, which is standard protocol, until all the facts are clear, said district spokeswoman Marty Macurak.
Phoenix police are investigating the incident and could pursue charges of harassment or identity theft against the person who posted the pictures and created the account.
"When you post things that you shouldn't be posting, there are serious repercussions," said Attorney Ruth Carter. "You could be sued, you could be arrested."
Carter told ABC15 that even if the person who created the profile was the owner of the photos, that person could still be violating privacy laws.
"They were obtained in an intimate relationship where there was an expectation of privacy," Carter said.
Carter, who was just named one of the American Bar Associations "Legal Rebels," said she doubts the culprit fully considered his or her actions.
"Most people don't realize how traceable it is," she said.
ABC15 flagged the page and also contacted Facebook, but as of Monday night, it was still online.
Full statement from the school district:
The circumstances under which this came to light are these: The Paradise Valley Unified School District received an automatically generated report from the student safety / anti-bullying reporting website anonymoustips.com this morning, 8/27/12. The report contained information from an anonymous web submission in which it was stated that a district teacher had posted pornographic pictures on a Facebook page.
After viewing the site, the district Human Resources Department placed the teacher on leave, which is standard practice while we gather information. The teacher informed the Human Resources Department that she is the person in the photos, but also stated that she did not create the Facebook page, nor did she post or otherwise distribute the photos posted on it.
Because the teacher stated that these were private photos and she did not post them, the situation was reported to the Phoenix Police Department, which is currently investigating.
The teacher also filed a complaint with the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National White Collar Crime Center. The Internet Crime Complaint Center investigates complaints related to identity theft, computer intrusion and online extortion, among other crimes.