Seven Greek teachers – four in Athens, three from other parts of the country – have been arrested by the Electronic Crime Unit on charges related to child pornography possession. Education Minister Andreas Loverdos has requested their names from the Unit head, Manolis Sfakianakis, after a recent scandal regarding the re-hiring of an accused mathematics teacher was brought to light. Other felons, a report has found, were also allowed to return to classrooms even as they faced charges of child pornography possession.
According to police officials, charges have been filed against all the accused individuals and their court cases are currently pending. The majority was placed on administrative leave but after a specific deadline elapsed, however, many were allowed to return to the classrooms. The problem is exacerbated by the sclerotic Greek public sector: their cases are expected to take a shocking eight years to be decided.
Some of the teachers have defended their actions, assuring critics that they had acquired the child pornography images purely for “research purposes.”
The Education Minister is meeting to discuss the issue with the relevant Ministers today, including Public Order Minister Vasilis Kikilias. The Public Order Ministry has expressed intent to implement an interactive program for safe internet use in public and private schools.
A mathematics teacher in a well-known private school in Athens was arrested six months ago for downloading child pornography. Although he was immediately dismissed from the school, several months later, according to police sources, he was re-hired as a “book evaluator” by the Education Ministry. He was dismissed 10 days ago by Loverdos, following a more extensive background check.
This was just one of the seven cases angrily described to the Greek Parliament by Loverdos. He stressed that such individuals must be eradicated from the education system forever. Yesterday, Sfakianakis sent the names of the seven accused to the prosecutor, who subsequently relayed the names of the four teachers arrested in Athens to Loverdos for “his use.”
Another disturbing and indicative case is that of a 53-year-old teacher in an Kilkis elementary school in October 2012. His 25-year-old son, who may have used an internet connection in his father’s name to download child pornography, was also arrested; it was the teacher, however, who accepted the blame for the images’ possession.
In the same year in Rethimno, Crete, a 45-year-old teacher was arrested after dressing in women’s clothes in a hotel and behaving provocatively towards two 20-year-olds in a nearby building. Police later found child pornography on the man’s electronic devices.
In 2009, following a major police crackdown on computer crimes, police arrested a teacher in a Glyfada high school in Athens, as well as a 50-year-old assistant professor of business administration at the University of Patras. The assistant professor denied downloading the material, despite 5,000 files of child pornography being discovered on his hard drive.
In another incident, a female teacher in Chania, Crete, was accused of the repeated rape of a 13-year-old. The child was reportedly chronically “exhausted” and performing poorly in school. The parents took the child to a doctor who “diagnosed” the problem; the boy was subsequently followed and the actions of the teacher revealed, who had initially approached the boy on Facebook. Child pornography material were subsequently found in her possession.