Sunday, February 11, 2007

Persecution of the Innocent

With each passing day bringing Julie Amero closer to sentencing, we can’t stop thinking of how we got to this juncture in our life. One day you have the world on a string and the next day the string is cut and you are left free falling into an abyss of legal, ethical and social upheaval. Sleepless nights wondering, why am I being persecuted for something I had no control over? I use the word Persecution, because after looking up the meaning of the word, I’ve come to fully understand what it means. I’d like to share some of the definitions with you.
Persecution is persistent mistreatment of an individual/group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution. Persecution is not recognized as such by persecutors, only by their victims or outside observers. Persecutors see no wrong in their actions, or rationalize it as a small or short-term wrong to counter what they see as a larger, more serious wrong, as in "The ends justify the means". Most commonly, this is expressed as seeking to protect themselves or their families or society from what they see as the harmful influence of the persecuted. Persecuted groups or individuals are often labeled using pejorative terms, which reinforce their social alienation. Use of such terms with strongly negative connotations allows individuals to avoid examining the true nature of their relationship with the persecuted. For almost anything, which could be cited as an example of persecution, there will be those who claim it is legitimate, personal or social self-defense.
Throughout history there have been many examples of the destructive or senseless use of political power. This happens most frequently when too much power has been concentrated in too few hands, without enough room for political debate, public criticism, or other types of correctives.
Charles de Montesquieu claimed that without following a principle of containing and balancing legislative, executive and judiciary powers, there is no freedom and no protection against abuse of power.
Coming to grips with persecution is not an easy task, but now that we know where we stand, we can move on with our lives with a purpose. During the trial Julie was not granted her constitutional right to contest every fact that might tend to incriminate her. The court opted to deny / prevent the defense from presenting evidence to rebut the evidence introduced by the state.
After two independent forensic investigations concluded that malware, not Julie was responsible for the infestation of pop up ads for pornography sites. The states assertion of a deliberate attempt to access pornographic web sites can only be deemed as persecution of a political nature.

Wes Volle
Julie Amero’s Husband

Julie and I wish to extend a personal thank you to all the kind and generous people who are helping us in our fight against this injustice. God Bless all of you.

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm just a nobody who happened upon the story of Julie's struggle today and wanted to make a some comments in support.

I have had the same exact thing happen to me at work and home some years ago before they had firewalls and malware blockers as a standard part of computing on the internet.

At work, every time I logged in, the porn pop-ups started. I went directly to my supervisor several times and told him to have the computer looked at. His response was that it must be part of my profile (whatever that means). I told him it wasn't, because it was only happening on one particular machine. I work in an industry that focuses on children, so that made me even more concerned about my job, so I told my boss I refused to use the computer in question until it was "cleaned up".

I was the only one who reported the issue, so my boss assumed it was a problem I generated. A few days later, I observed another empoyee log on to the computer and while several people were standing by, the pop-up porn just started up all by itself without even clicking on a single thing. The person had not even established an internet connection and it was there.

I felt vindicated and found out that there were many others who had been having issues, but instead of addressing them, they just turned off the computer ad said nothing about the problem.
I could have easily been fired on my bosses accusation had he pursued it. It made me angry knowing that others had experienced the same thing I was and had said nothing in my defense and in some cases made jokes about it.

So, I understand perfectly well Julie's plight and how something like this can happen to innocent people.

I now have some 8-10 malware programs (some specially targeting specific viruses/hijackers) to protect my home computer, the question is why don't these law enforcement people go after the real culprits who make malware and make it necessary for innocent people to have firewalls and malware blockers in the first place?

To Julie, good luck to you, I hope truth and justice prevail.

Christopher said...

I have over 27 years in computers and currently work with home computers and businesses. I believe your wife is totally innocent. The porn pop ups are getting a little less prevelent on properly secured computers.

If anyone is criminally negligent it is the school district for not maintaining their systems properly.

We are involved in a civil action currently where our company was scammed. I've ended up totally disgusted with our legal system. Our AG is only interested in making headlines, the same with our local DA.

I also find it telling that the detective had a WHOLE HOUR of training.. Mr. Horner, with his 40 years of experience, is much more credible. Back in 2004, I came across machines with runaway popups on almost a daily basis.


I had one client a few years back that got hit wih porn because he mistyped the address of a Bass fisinbg site. Our own son, at nine years old, got hit with popups by mistyping the addess for the lego site. Even properly protected and up-to-date windows xp machines are vulnerable if running as an administrator.

I can't forward a monetary donation at this time. (As I said, we are dealing with our own legal injustices). However, I will help spread the word and will write to your governor asking them to pardon your wife and expunge all records.

If there was any justice in the world the judge, prosecutor, school officials and detective would resign in shame. Instead they are using your wife to further their political ambitions.

Anonymous said...

The very same thing happened to me a few years ago. I was trying to find a picture of a hairstyle worn by a soap opera actress. Suddenly I was in pop-up porn hell. It was a nightmare trying to click them off. Good luck, Julie. God bless.

Anonymous said...

This is a comment in regards to the entire charade. I totally support you Julie. This is a very upsetting incident for me, and so I can only imagine how terrible you must feel. You did the exact same thing I would have done! I would have tried to fix the computer all class long, because I wouldn't have wanted my fellow colleagues to question why there was porn on my computer, regardless of how it ended up there. I don't know what your reason was, but that would have been my motivation. What's next, will teachers who bring students to Europe studying abroad be prosecuted? Many of the countries within the EU will have porn in phone booths, or on basic TV channels. Where will this end? Every day that passes I read another news story that leads me to believe that this government has lost touch with the people they are supposed to protect. I am sorry Julie, and I can only hope that justice will prevail.

~Aaron

Anonymous said...

Hi,

My name is Mike, and I have intensionally surfed porn websites. I have seen porn webpages pop-up out of control, even while trying to close them. I could not close them fast enough. I could probably make this happen again although I have not tried this in a very long time. Would it help to show this experience to someone to prove it happens? I am sure Julie is a victim of cyber pop-ups, and not an intensional law breaker. I'm sure that the prosecutor is out of control. I'm sure that these pop-ups could be demonstrated in a court of law.

spunk said...

Wes,
As a school district tech administrator I have to ask, why isn't the District being prosecuted as well? If they receive federal funding they are required to abide by CIPA and provide proof they monitor and block harmful content. They slack (even the principal admits the bill wasn't paid!) and your wife pays for it. REDICULOUS!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

My name is Stev Fortine, and I run a omputer consulting business in Wichita, KS. I have countless years as an IT professional, and work on rsidential and busiess machines on a daily basis. These problems with spyware/adware and viruses are our bread and butter. We average 3 to 5 computers a day that have problems. There is no simple answer to the infection, as our clients range in age from 12 to 95 years old, and all share one common link, spyware! If anyone is liable here, it is the school district and the prosecutor for being an idiots. If you do not understand technology, its quite simple, you call companies such as mine to make sure you are protected.

Could someone please post the contact info for your states elected officials, the dumb DA, governor, house and senate reps, etc? I would be more than happy to write on behalf of Julie. I will also use our remote support tool to show any of the officials who will listen just how bad the spyware problem is. I will bet their computers have a majority of the same problems that the school computer had.

If anyone would like to contact me, I can be reached at www.geeksnomore.com, or at sales@geeksnomore.com, or by phone 316-214-1787.

My heart goes out to your family, as these are the stupidest charges I have ever heard of!!

Storms24 said...

Wes - The trial transcript, your wife's own statements made to the police during their investiation, and evidence presented at trial paints a much different story. I commend you for your support of your spouse, but don't let it blind you to the facts.

Kenny Johnson said...

so is there a petition or something that we can sign? or someone in the da's office we can all send email to?

have you contacted the aclu?

Injustice said...

Storms24
I don't know where you are getting your information from, but it is inaccurate. There is only one story and it's not a story...it's the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you have conflicting information and believe you me, there is much of it out there it because that there are people in Norwich who would rather see Julie go down for this crime. If the people responsible for the incident had come forward and explained to the police that there was no filtering software in place then all of this would have been a mute point and there would have been no prosecution hence no persecution.

Anonymous said...

This is rediculous and goes to show that the judicial system needs to take into account new technologies and stop living in the past. This story needs to start showing up in every PC magazine that is on the market to get the right people behind her 100%. This should have been dismissed that day as an accident and taken no further. I hope after the fact everyone that brought this on her faces some harassment charges instead. Personally, I have already forwarded the story on to all the techs I know throughout the world. (I'm a former US Air Force Computer Technician) The school system should be to blaim since the computer's firewall was down due to the fact that the "vendor's bill had gone unpaid". I have personally seen this happen in other Computer Information System, Computer Science, and CIT classes I have taken throughout my career... multiple times. And every time the teachers were so stunned it took them a minute to compose themselves . This saddens me to think this is the world we live in still to this day. Regardless of how it happened it is still the schools responsibility to have protection against these types of things, unless they require their teachers to all be highly qualified computer experts.

tj_williams0@hotmail.com

Paul said...

Hi Wes and Julie,

The New York Times article and AP story today are very good news. No one who hears of your story and is knowledgeable about computers and the Web could believe for one second that Julie is guilty, so this publicity can only lead to a greater public outcry over the injustice you've both suffered.

Everyone who reads this, please, go to Digg and digg these stories up, so that more people become aware of this terrible injustice.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm from Canada and hearing about this case makes my blood boil. But sadly it is just part of a larger trend that has been occuring in the U.S. for some time now -- and thank goodness not in Canada -- at least yet!

The police, prosecutor, jury members and judge should all be locked up and not Julie.

First of all, such a law that she was prosecuted under should not even be on the books -- anywhere!
This is the first problem with this situation. It is part of a growing and now out of control phenomenom called Overcriminalization and has been happening for some time now. How can anyone have respect for laws like this?

Secondly, did the DA not have any sense of judgement or better yet, any self-control? How on each could he purse a charge on a law like this when the evidence does not even pass the smell test? It was way too flimsy. Plus DAs are elected there. Too many political IOUs mean too much opportunism -- something that does not belong in the crininal justice system.

Thirdy, the judge did not allow the defense to present any evidence on the technical aspects of spyware. This has to be an appealable ground just on its own.
The defense should have the right to keep its "cards" silent until a witness is cross-examined.

And for the jury members, what planet did they live on? Are they a bunch of gullable suckers that will believe anything anyone tells them? Did they have a brain in any of their heads? I remember the old adage "don't belive anything you hear, ony 1/2 of what you see, and 1/4 of what you read". Real scepticism and rigorous examination and scrutinizing of evidence is a requirement of any juror member.

I'm not fond of the use of juries to begin with. I believe that laypeople can be very unqualified to handle legal decisions that will greatly impact another person's life. They can also be very susceptible to emotional arguments by prosecutors. Trial evidence needs to be evaluated dispassionately. I find judge-only trials to be the best in ensuring fair trials. Most jurors unfortunately are very sheltered people who haven't had much contact with life's darker sides. After all, who else could afford to sit on one for just a few dollars a day? Most wrongful convictions result from ignorant and both mentally and intellectually ill-equipped juror members.

It is sad that these issues have been occuring for some time now across the States. And it is SO EASY to see all of this as someone outside looking in.

Too many americans are woefully ignorant of the increasing lack of freedom and excessive use and prosecution of criminal sanctions. As a result, the "Land of the Free" disappeared a long time ago.

I'm glad I live in Canada and not the U.S., because so far, I am much less susceptible to this kind of witch-hunt lunacy. If the retarded neo-cons ever get full power here, that may change though.

You yanks really need to start paying attention and need to wake up if you really want to save your country from this outrageous garbage!

Blogger from Toronto

Robyn said...

Hi Julie and Wes,
From your end of the state, Colchester. I am so sorry for the blind, narrow, witch hunt that is happening to you. I can attest that no matter what you type into a search, you will always get a few porn results. Last fall, I was looking for info on the BIG E. My first 10 results were for BIG everything nasty but the Big E. Today, we lost power. I tried calling CL & P, and in the dark, misdialed by a number and was confronted by a dial-a-porn number advertising their 'ladies.' It is inescapable and unfathomable to be prosecuted for being simply electronic.

Anonymous said...

I'm an IT Manager. I'm totally outraged Julie was convicted. I've had this same exact thing happen to users at my company through no fault of theirs. Back in 2004 I was spending at least a week a month cleaning a PC of spyware and adware and believe me it was not easy. And users react in a panic and do not think of or are afraid to pull the plug on the PC. I'm donating to you tonight and I will be following this case. Good luck and God Bless you. May justice be found. This was a witch hunt by stupid prosecutor and cops!

paperghost said...

Hi, I'm Paperghost, a full time security researcher. The security community is 100% behind you, and we will do anything we can to get the word out on this. I've written about this issue frequently on www.vitalsecurity.org and will continue to do so for as long as this travesty of justice is allowed to continue.

Anonymous said...

Hello, another computer professional here.

You are obviously innocent, with which anyone with the slightest modicum of computer literacy agrees.

Hopefully the amount of attention this case is getting will turn the tide in your favor. How they managed to fill an entire jury without a single clueful individual is astonishing.

I hope that you prevail, and if there is any justice you will. This kind of scapegoating, incompetence, and miscarriage of justice enrages me. There is something scart about a system where people who wield considerable power over others lives are allowed to do so despite their complete incompetence to hold such power.

I wish you both a long, happy retirement living off the proceeds of suing this school district down to its cinders. You have my full moral support in doing so.

Show no mercy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Julie and Mark:

This is a copy of the email I sent to the superintendent and copied to the state senator, lt gov and gov of Ct. I hope to read that you are appealing the verdict and that Julie will be exonerated. You have my support, prayers and best wishes!

Dear Ms Aubin:

Why was this woman convicted for something she could not control? You, as superintendent of the school district, are responsible for the internet security (or lack there of) and proper content filters that allowed this unfortunate incident to occur. I feel very strongly that Julie Amero was wrongfully convicted because the exact same thing happened to me approximately five years ago before my husband installed our internet security system and set the filters- I was reading recipes on a recipe exchange site and clicked on a link that was supposed to direct me to more recipes but instead sent me to some pornographic site- no big deal I thought, I’ll just close the page. As soon as I clicked on the “X” to exit the web site no less than 50 (I am not exaggerating!) more porn web pages kept opening, one after another and I could not stop them! Needless to say I was incredibly freaked out and yelled for my husband to help me because I didn’t know what to do. My husband, who worked with an internet content filter company (Websense) knew exactly what had happened. He called it a “malicious code” that sick and twisted people write to prey on unsuspecting people like me AND Julie Amero. I was lucky, one, my husband was home and knew what to do and two, that my young children did not witness the images that were flashing across my screen one after another.

I learned some valuable lessons that day, the first being to be careful clicking on links you are not sure of. My husband no longer works for Websense but they have a good product especially for companies that allow their employees internet access- I wonder what the student were looking at while no one was watching them since you did not have protection in place for them or what you would have done had if the same type of incident had happened to a student.

You, your school district, city, county and state should be mortally embarrassed and ashamed for what you did to this poor woman, she was the scapegoat for your neglect and you should be doing everything in your power to correct this grievous error.


Jadette Lowery
San Marcos, CA

Anonymous said...

This is a copy of the email I sent to the superintendent and copied to the state senator, lt gov and gov of Ct. I hope to read that you are appealing the verdict and that Julie willbe exonerated. You have my support, prayers and best wishes!

Dear Ms Aubin:

Why was this woman convicted for something she could not control? You, as superintendent of the school district, are responsible for the internet security (or lack there of) and proper content filters that allowed this unfortunate incident to occur. I feel very strongly that Julie Amero was wrongfully convicted because the exact same thing happened to me approximately five years ago before my husband installed our internet security system and set the filters- I was reading recipes on a recipe exchange site and clicked on a link that was supposed to direct me to more recipes but instead sent me to some pornographic site- no big deal I thought, I’ll just close the page. As soon as I clicked on the “X” to exit the web site no less than 50 (I am not exaggerating!) more porn web pages kept opening, one after another and I could not stop them! Needless to say I was incredibly freaked out and yelled for my husband to help me because I didn’t know what to do. My husband, who worked with an internet content filter company (Websense) knew exactly what had happened. He called it a “malicious code” that sick and twisted people write to prey on unsuspecting people like me AND Julie Amero. I was lucky, one, my husband was home and knew what to do and two, that my young children did not witness the images that were flashing across my screen one after another.

I learned some valuable lessons that day, the first being to be careful clicking on links you are not sure of. My husband no longer works for Websense but they have a good product especially for companies that allow their employees internet access- I wonder what the student were looking at while no one was watching them since you did not have protection in place for them or what you would have done had if the same type of incident had happened to a student.

You, your school district, city, county and state should be mortally embarrassed and ashamed for what you did to this poor woman, she was the scapegoat for your neglect and you should be doing everything in your power to correct this grievous error.


Jadette Lowery
San Marcos, CA

Chip Hedler said...

I'm an educational technology resource teacher and I'm dumbfounded that the case ever got to this point. The forensic lapses alone seem adequate to establish more than a shadow of a doubt about the grounds for a conviction. I've posted a contribution because no matter who spills the milk, it's extra work to get it cleaned up. And it really needs to get cleaned up.

After reading the many comments on several blogs, there's not much left unsaid about the technical dimension of this misbegotten conviction. I tend to agree also that Julie Amero's counsel could have defended the case much more effectively. I hope Julie Amero will have a really strong legal team to pursue justice via an appeal.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Volle at wrote:

"Many are located outside the United States and in my opinion are or should be considered terrorists."

Tis is American problem so I wonder why are you trying to "internationalize" by involving non-Americans, terrorists, in short. What else?

No Mr. Volle, we Europeans and all other non-Americans have nothing to do with the problem of your wife. You better try to think what is wrong with your America and your American way of reasoning. And live us alone non-Americans out of that - we are not sending your wife to the prison. You rather point your finger to your countrymen - Americans. They are doing that to you and your family. You have created the largest and the stiffest dictatorship ever created on the Earth. Enjoy it - it's all yours!

I understand Mr. Volle's anger but I think he should address people who are in fact responsible for your troubles.

Friendly greetings from non-American Europe!

Wes Volle said...

Non - American Europe
I sincerely apologize to all the wonderful people from Europe that have supported Julie and there are many. There are rogue programmers here in the United States as well, I feel the same way about them and should have stated that. It was not my intention to single any country out. My intention was to point out that there are people operating under the radar of social conscience everywhere. Without regard as to whom may be hurt by their actions. The people that write these software programs to redirect honest people to objectionable sites without their consent, in my opinion are the real criminals and border on terrorism. While the vast majority of Internet users do not make money off of redirects to pornographic web sites, it is those who do that I address that comment to.
Again, I am not trying to blame European’s for my wife’s problems. The point I was trying to make is that this type of irresponsible advertising (pornographic pop up’s) needs to be addressed by all governments.
Thank you for pointing out an obvious error on my part.

My Sincere Apologies
Wes Volle

Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams. I don't know what Storms24 is ingesting, but he does seem to have a bee in his bonnet. I refute his claims in the comments to my first post on the injustice done to Julie.

I've posted an appeal for contributions to Julie's legal defense fund.

As teacher Eric Hoefler wrote:

If this trial stands, how can we ever use technology without a constant fear plaguing us?

Karoli said...

Julie and Wes,

I've been following this case since I heard about it in January and am appalled that it's come to this. I have been blogging it every chance I get and will continue to do so. It's a travesty of justice, but you already know that.

Please continue to post updates and your thoughts about what's happening - I will make sure to do my part to get the word out as best as I can.

Karoli said...

I have blogged about your defense fund here. For every comment posted in the next 48 hours to that post confirming a donation, I will contribute $1 in excess of the donation I've already made to her fund.

Jessie said...

Could you please post an address to send a donation to for those of us who do not have a Paypal account and would prefer to send a check rather than use our credit/debit card online. Thanks! Jessie Ness

Anonymous said...

I am speechless. This is the first that I am hearing of this HUGE injustice. My prayers are with your family. I know this must be difficult and I can't imagine what your wife is going through. It is instances like that make me question exactly what our justices is doing in their free time, it is obviously that it's not making sure that the true child predators are being placed in jail. They're too busy going after innocent school teachers. I've watched the show to catch a predator and those men are repeat offender and they only get probation. Am I the only one that can see that there is something so wrong with that picture?

Larry Strauss said...

If I were a rich man, I would hire Alan Dershowitz to do your appeal. Since I am not a rich man, I can only make a small contribution -- which I will....

A crime has been committed against you and your wife and I think that your use of the word persecution is accurate. So is your assessment that the prosecutors and everyone else is acting out of political interests. Our children are increasingly being exposed to sex and violence to their detriment. Parents are terrified and enraged. We feel, at least somewhat, powerless to combat these influences. Politicians cannot figure out any real solutions so why not scapegoat a teacher? Ruin a few lives in order to give their constituents the illusion that they are confronting the depravity.

They (your persecutors) are, of course, the most depraved of all.

MarkK said...

Petitioning bad people to do good rarely works. You need to have the bad people investigated.

Sample letter:

Connecticut State Bar
30 Bank Street
PO Box 350
New Britain CT 06050-0350
Phone: (860) 223-4400
Fax: (860) 223-4488

Dear sir/madam,

I request you launch an immediate investigation into the actions of State's Attorney David Smith as per the case of Julie Amero. He has made numerous false statements to the press, the jury, and the judge in this case. Such misconduct is wrong and needs to be immediately investigated by your office.

In one such false statement, State's Attorney David Smith reportedly told the jury, "You have to physically click on it to get to those sites," when referring to the web sites that showed up on Ms. Amero's computer. Other times he went further, and suggested not only that Amero clicked on the web site links (URLs), but that she physically typed them in.

The CEO of the maker of the forensic software that Norwich Police Detective Mark Lounsbury used to examine Julie Amero's computer stated that, while the software can find all sorts of files and images, including deleted images or images in unallocated disk space, by keyword or by filetype, [it] does not determine the cause of those files being on the computer (whether caused by malware, intrusion, or direct and willful use), and that it is not the function of [the software] to make that determination." In other words, the software cannot show if Ms. Amero clicked on anything nor typed anything in.

Nevertheless, both the detective (Mark Lounsbury) and the prosecutor (David Smith) were unequivocal in their statements to the press and the jury that the forensic evidence demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the substitute teacher deliberately "typed in" the porn sites. They knew these statements were false, and yet they made them anyway.

Norwich Police Detective Mark Lounsbury has gone further, though. He reportedly also said that he can differentiate between what is and what is not a pop-up based on the source codes [sic]. There is absolutely no factual basis for this claim.

There is no room in our legal system for misrepresentation of the facts by prosecutors. Ignorance of computer forensic evidence is no excuse for falsely convicting an innocent person. The statements David Smith made are all false, and are not backed-up by the evidence. To make such an assertion to win a case is wrong, it is prosecutorial misconduct of the severest form, and is therefore cause for disbarment.

In addition we will be petitioning the U.S. Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation into the actions of the State's Attorney, David Smith, and Norwich Police Detective Mark Lounsbury in this matter.

ckollars said...

Removing non-geeks from our society does sound like persecution of the innocent.

Another scenario is hysteria. Julie's case reminds me an awful lot of those satan-worship-at-daycare cases back in the 80's, the ones that are so embarrasing to our society now. Say the words "naked" and "children" in the same sentence while winking, and someone goes in the dock. "Child molestation" is our society's hysteria of the day.

I see an unfortunate parallel with the Sacco & Vanzetti trial almost a century ago. Like then, the charges were so ludicrous they weren't taken seriously, so the legal defense was less than it should have been.

I help run a school's IT. We expend about half our resources trying to insulate teachers and students from precisely this kind of thing. It's the biggest part of our job.

Scoutj said...

I just read about this and can NOT believe this. I just donated a bit of money too and will spread the word.

Anonymous said...

This same thing happened to me several years ago. A completely computer illiterate woman in my office went around telling everyone (except me of course!) that I had been looking at pornography on a workroom computer. Never mind that I had access to my own computer in an office with a door that could be locked. Why would I want to look at pornography on a public computer?

I read the article about you and thought 'there but by the grace of God go I'. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The ACLU would love this case. Consider contacting them for support.

Sunday said...

You have support from Mike and Sunday of Cincinnati, Ohio. We are drafting letters (it takes a while to edit them down to something calm and rational) to the concerned parties this week and are discussing how much we can afford to donate to the monetary fund.

Also, try to find the humor in all things, it will be what allows you to sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

This is completely ridiculous. Nobody in the justice system has ever surfed the net? Do they have half a brain? Together?

Anonymous said...

I will pray for you and your wife. I know for a fact that pop-ups are too intrusive. I was recently working on a friend's computer and I had reformatted it, reinstalled programs, and was checking the Internet connection when I inadvertently went to a wrong site. Immediately pop-ups started happened. I had not had a chance to install the proctection programs on their computer yet so they were blasted. I immediately began to install the programs I use on my own computer and the pop-ups ceased. Even my own paranoia at this happening made me decide to reformat the machine all over again and this time INSTALL the protection programs first. I sincerely wish you both godspeed in putting this nightmare behind you.

Anonymous said...

WAKE-UP AMERICA, Wouldn't it make more sense to go after the people that put this kind of trash on the web. The school District should be held responsible for not securing a safe enviroment for students and facilty. It also sounds like the local police should stick to passing out parking ticket as they appear to no nothing about hackers,spammers,phishing techniques or computer science. George Walpole

Anonymous said...

I am British living in the North East of England. I have just read of this case, and on the basis of what I have learned, I am appalled that in such a civilised and technically sophisticated society, such things can happen. In this part of the world (North East of England) we are celebrating - if that is the right word - the 20th anniversary of an infamous child abuse case. This resulted in the forced removal of a huge number of children from their parents and foster parents. The justification for the abuse accusation was the result of some controversial examination technique carried out by paediatric specialists. In some cases, the children were separated from their parents for several years.

There is good news! Eventually the two doctors involved in the examinations and submission of evidence to the courts were discredited. But of course a great deal of harm had been caused; some of it irreperable.

I pray that good sense will prevail in this case; that there will be no miscarriage of justice.

I am afraid that your experience is probably the tip of the iceberg. Individuals are being persecuted all of the time, and soon no one will want to take on the jobs that involve working with young people.

Only recently I heard of a swimming coach who used an underwater video camera to record swimming strokes, so that he could helkp the individuals improve their technique. It was always done with the full knowledge of the young people concerned, and often their parents were present too. This poor individual has now lost his job and is being invsetigated by the police with a view to prosecuting him.

Good wishes from a Brit!

Anonymous said...

Absolute BS. No doubt this case should be dismissed.

Of course, there is always the off switch.

TG said...

I just donated to Julie's defense fund. This is universally considered a true miscarriage of justice.

I truly wish Julie, you, and your friends and family to take courage from the fact that so many people are absolutely outraged at this pointless prosecution of an innocent woman.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning...
I have (3) 9-11 year olds who want to know:
"Why didn't the school have protective software installed?"
"A car has seatbelts, why didn't the school have protection?"
(1) girl made the perfect 'flip' comment"

"Is Norwich located near Stepford?, they're using the same drinking water..."

D. Edwards

Michael said...

I pray for your wife as well. It appears that a Salem witch trial is taking place here. It appears as in the Salem witch trial that the prosecution just wants to prosecute somebody despite the facts of the case. I am sure these popups have happened to the prosecutors themselves and they are either internet ignorant, or just ignoring what they already know. It's a shame that in this day and age the legal system can be so distorted that it will readily claim an innocent victim. I hope other teachers learn their lesson in this case and accidentally drop the monitor on the floor in the future. Maybe monetary consequences for the school will make them think twice for creating a frivolous and unfair lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

I am aghast at this abuse of the the legal system. I truly hope that reason and justice prevail here in the end. - LJ

David said...

Have you considered:

1) Replacing your defense attorney with more effective counsel? I'm aghast that this could have reached the point of conviction.

2) Filing a civil suit for damages against the school district (and those responsible for the computer's maintenance) with failure to take the actions expected of them to protect those in the classroom?

--David

FreeThinker said...

This case is so absurd, I'd be surprised if Julie did not win. Things are not that bad in the justice system, are they?

I'm not a praying man so I will help by making a financial contribution to Julie's defense fund.

Paul Mansfield said...

The facts as I understand them show the school district to be negligent to a fault by creating an unsafe computing environment [lack of filters, anti-spyware, etc.] which would have prevented this from happening. I am surprised I have read nothing of a counter claim by Julie back at the school board in a civil action. As an IT professional I have worked with corporate IT departments to ensure things like this cannot happen ... because when they do, it exposes the company to sexual harassment lawsuits by the employee who is on the receiving end of these pop-ups.
Ask your attorney about this. Is he asleep at the switch?

Anonymous said...

I have been in IT for 21 years. This is a travesty in that this person has been condemned because of a very incomplete (and incompetent) investigation. I can assure you that what happened to Julie could unfortunately happen to anyone at anytime. Especially if the pc was improperly protected. Most people who have computers have no real idea what danger lurks behind the keyboard. Most dismiss the idea of being attacked thru the pc as "it won't happen to me". That is a gravely bad decision to believe. The internet is a great place to learn, but unfortunately, it is also a place to be exposed. It is kind of like putting a kid in a new park by themselves to play. You dont know who they will be talking to and what they are setting up the kid for. Not all is as it seems. I have a child I have to continually monitor pc-wise, as even innocent looking places he goes can lead to misdirection to a bad site, even though I have parent control web software. My best wishes for Julie and hope that the justice system will open it's eyes and see the real truth behind this and not make judgements based on inaccurate reports and incomplete investigations.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon,

I just read about your plight and stopped by to see what your blog had to say.

Maybe I am missing something here, but why did your defense team not bring in a bunch of computer experts to explain what happened? There should be hundreds of them in your vicinity and many more who would be willing to travel there to testify. Geeks don't like stupid.

Good luck!

David

Laura B said...

Julie, we were in school together from Cutler through Fitch. You have been so royally screwed! I wish I could give you more than emotional support. So many people know about this now, I can't even begin to imagine your humiliation. There are so many people riled up about this that I can't see your appeal not clearing you. I'm so sorry this had to happen to you.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that a teacher in the 21st century isn't armed with a basic knowledge of how to turn a MONITOR off.

Andrew said...

I'm praying for you. I'm praying for America. If this injustice is allowed to stand, I will lose all faith in America's justice system. As a technology professional, the degree to which our law enforcement, judges, and lawyers do not understand technology is utterly terrifying to me. I would never allow anyone using a system I built to be falsely accused of wrongdoing if the error were my own. I would damn sure know a purposeful action from a mistake. It is my moral duty to protect users of my systems from legal persecution.

If only the lawyers, school board, and judge had a concept of morality based in reason and sound judgment, rather than alarmism and misunderstanding.

Julie, I will do everything I can to support you.

Injustice said...

What's even worse is that she was told not to turn it off, and when she went for help, her pleas were ignored. She was told NOT TO TURN OFF THE COMPUTER. So she followed proper protocol and told the school computer teacher and several others including the assistant principal. NO ONE CARED !!!!!!!!!!!! and did absolutly nothing to investigate. That includes the other teacher that was in the room at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Suggest to your attorney that they take this PC in front of the judge and ask him/her to google something innocent (dick cheney or peacock farm, for example!). When it goes nuts and happens to the judge in front of everyone, case dismissed. To the person from non-American Europe, might want to brush the chip off your shoulder! Our law enforcement admits the hardest thing about stopping internet crime is that the sites are usually in other countries. Some may be in the US and bouncing off servers elsewhere to hide but it makes tracing very difficult. Regardless, don't make this a US vs the world issue as these criminals are out to get you and your hard earned money too. Best of luck Julie, donation on it's way.

Anonymous said...

I found your site because my wife and I are going through a similar hell. I can't go into the details of the case, but what it amounts to is my 6yo daughter used a 4 letter word at school, the police and social services were called.

Our family must now endure a 2 month investigation by police and social services because they believe only a child who has been abused would use a word like that.

In this new "protect the child at all costs" society, we are ALL guilty until proven innocent. Kids explore, they get curious, they use foul language and they always have.

But the difference today is YOU - any of you reading this blog - can be found guilty and sentenced for a sex crime against a child.

It's a money game, where if they can convict enough innocent people, it justifies the added "child security force." The government can grow, create more predators out of thin air and then grow some more.

Wes is right, this is a persecution much like what was found in Nazi Germany, only this is the beginning. Today, anyone to call the police and anonymously charge a neighbor, or just someone loading groceries into their car, with a sex crime against a child. The police don't care if a crime was committed. Their job is to build a case.

Some of the most vile and disgusting things have been said to my family in the course of this investigation. Things far more disgusting than the 4 letter word my daughter used.

I hope people will support Wes and his wife, this is indeed tragic. The ability of a few to band together and ruin someone's life and liberty in this society is far removed from our founding fathers. It is disgusting. Yet everyone should be concerned, because when they are through with Wes, Julie and my family, they WILL be coming after you.

Anonymous said...

Educators?
Charlatans.

charlatan |ˈ sh ärlətən; ˈ sh ärlətn| noun a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud. See note at quack .


My email to her new council:

Dear Mr. William Dow,

Thank you for standing up for this woman, Julie Amero. This is madness. Is common sense lost?
I have many years experience with computers. This is, metaphorically speaking, an "easy out".
These folks (the school and the former jurors) are uneducated about the subject, therefore need tutoring before any reasonable judgement could be rendered.
If I can be any (email) assistance (I'm in the San Francisco area) please do not hesitate, - no question is too insignificant.
I am at your service (pro bono).

hylas

P.S.
Preview is broken.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why some people are suprised by her lack of knowledge about computers. The vast MAJORITY of people in this country think that turning off the monitor turns off the computer. Its a common mistake with people who grew up without any contact with computers. Im 35 and many of my friends wont turn off a computer even when it freezes because they believe it will destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Wes,

I live in another part of the world, but I am just as appalled by this case. Take a cue from groklaw.net and post all case related info that is publicly available on this blog as often as you can. If it is tough for you to do it personally, try and get some volunteers.

I have another suggestion. Start a fund raising campaign for covering your legal costs by using the widget service available at chipin.com. It is extremely easy, since you already have a paypal account. The best part is that other bloggers can copy that code and promote your campaign and its cause on their sites. More importantly, it shows the status of your campaign real time which is a great things for transparency.

All the best with your struggles and I hope the fools who have put your family in this predicament come to their senses or have it knocked into them by someone.

Meeven,
India

Jocelyne B said...

Hi
I'm french, and I encountered this via a knitting blog.
I'm horrified!
This could happen to everyone, at any time, and does not justifie such persecution!
Why don't they blame the school's principal who did not verified the protection's level of his computers? And even if it had be done, such a thing can happen!
I got pornographic images while searching for yarn!

Anonymous said...

http://www.eff.org/ Go to this web site, they can possibly help you in your defense. This is the electronic frontier foundation and they are known for helping protect your digital rights. Please don't wait any longer to contact them. At least check out the website.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has helped out a lot of people with getting rid of this kind of stuff from their computers i consider it truly pathetic that someone at all gets prosecuted for it.

Especially when, if anyone was to be prosecuted, it SHOULD be whoever is responsible for the computers at the school.
And even that would be utterly ridiculous unless that person really screwed up with their work.

Are courts in USA computer illiterate or packed with incompetent, malignant or stupid people?

My suggestion is to ask everyone you know or in your vicinity who has any sort of official position or degrees in computers to line up as witnesses. Noone can seriously say something like this could be the fault of, and especially not intentional, a substitute teacher.
It would be hilarious that any agent of law could be so nutty if it wasnt so sadly pathetic.

Calling this a travesty of justice is an insult to any real court, judge or jury.

Patrik, Sweden. Computer and networks administrator and technician.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than unwanted porn pop-ups are politicians. At least you can put mal-ware in place (if the district supports it) to make the pop-ups go away.

I have contributed to your defense fund, and written to Gov. Rell.

Best of luck in your fight against ignorance.

anne said...

all i can pray for is that the judge sees sense, and gives a suspended sentence so you can appeal......i'm afraid i can imagine this happening here in the uk too.....take care.....sorry but it beggars belief that this could happen...i am speachless.......

Ryan said...

I have never been more ashamed to call myself an American. - Hopefully the press coverage will yield a positive outcome.

Diana said...

I can't believe she was found guilty. I also have had that very situation occur where the pop-ups are unstoppable. I understand the prosecution's arguement of why she didn't just unplug the computer but you don't really go through the "coulda woulda shoulda's" when you're hit upside the face with a shock. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. She would have had to pay the bill for any damage done to the computer if she had unplugged it, she's paying the bill for not unplugging the computer now. Its like society wants us to be a bunch of perfect robots ready to pounce on any issue in a flash with accuracy. This ruling is a bunch of, pardon me, b.s. plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

What an unbelievable scenario - Imagine if all those who have inadvertently been subjected to porn pop-ups ended up in this same situation.
I am an average Australian woman who as the parent of a young child some years ago was horrified when our newly acquired computer subjected me to unsolicited porn info in a similar vein. As we have became more computer-savvy my husband has successfully maintained adequate firewalls etc to prevent this recurring.
My question is "HOW ON EARTH CAN THE EDUCATION DEPT IN YOUR STATE/COUNTRY BE SO LAX and THEN allow this poor woman to carry the can???"
It beggars belief! Maree in Aust.

Anonymous said...

does anyone not realize it wasnt the necessarily the fact that porn was on the computer so much as she didnt cover it up?

hello??!?!? would you like your 11 year seeing porn at school?

I would be appalled if my son came home saying he saw naked pictures on a computer at school. while 40 years is excessive, julie was the one to turn down the plea-bargain! i feel little or no jail time is appropriate, but also not being able to teach again

Andrew said...

It has always been easier to criminalise the people who are sitting targets than to go after those who most people would view as the criminals. It is the same in the UK, and probably anywhere in the world.

It is sad that it happens in countries *supposed* to be beacons of justice and democracy. Have a modest donation - if enough people give a little it will add up to a useful fund. But, please, if you can, sue the incompetent and the apparently malicious folks who caused this. THEY should be made an example of!

Rich Pierson said...

This case is just so wrong on so many levels. That the schools IT people could not fess up to their incompetence tells me they have no integrity, honor or pride. That they decided to prosecute based on the evidence tells me someone is up for relection. I have seen this first hand, my wife is also a sub. I had one windows98 system left in 2000 on our 5 home machines and she decided to make a quick buy online and did a typo. More out of curiousity I watched 40 Internet explorer windows open before the PC bluescreened. I paved it over with windows2000.
If you need a professional who will testify I am available, no charge. If you can get me an ISO image of the hard drive I can give you dates,times and alot of other stuff about the spyware/adware and other nasty stuff that is on there. Dates and times may point to who really did the surfing.

pwils said...

anonymous.........

Read the articles on this, read the transcript. What is the difference between turning it off, covering it up when she turned the monitor away from the children, shielded it with her body....

Get real, these kids have seen more on tv than these popup ads that came on to the screen.......

And it was not her fault. The Jury convicted her because the were computer illterates, defense testimony was not allowed and the Judge, Prosecutor and Detective expert were just pure self proclaimed computer idiots.....

I hope this new team, no, I know this new team will show everyone how stupid this whole things was in the first place.........

Unfortunately, Julie has had to live a nightmare from all this....

God bless you Wes & Julie, you will prevail.....

Jok3r said...

Just Started reading about this on slyck, this is terrible ive had stuff like this on my pc you dont even need an internet connection for some of them.

I cant believe this can happen to and innocent person and that any jury would even think it would be on purpose or something like that.

I hope everything works out i would hate to see something happen to Julie.

-Sean Lynch

rourri said...

I just heard this on NPR....

and had to look it up because I could not believe what I heard this morning on WBUR in Boston.

I cannot believe that they issued a guilty verdict...this is insane.

Alan said...

I am continually amazed that America with all its technical expertise (where would you like that bomb dropped) is so ignorant when it comes to these issues.
Any liability should be slotted home to the school system administration - but I suppose they have the power and need a political scape goat - Sorry Julie you will do - cause they wouldn't make a mistake would they.

Julie / Was - keep the faith surely the truth will triumph some time.

Alan

Derek said...

Hi,
I've been following your case for a little while now. Thought you might like to know that you've made the front page of the The Sydney Morning Herald website
The article is at:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/teacher-julies-popup-porn-shock/2007/03/01/1172338780879.html

I've made a donation to your fund. Good luck and don't give up hope.

Derek
Australia

Anonymous said...

Now I have seen some shocking problems with our justice system, I am a 3rd year law student, but this case I heard of first today, is one of the most shocking. What shcoks me is that this is an unbelievable combination of incompetence.
Here we have a school which puts 7 computers in a classroom, I would almost say dump those computers in the classroom. Because, obviously, nobody in that school seems to have an idea how to handle the computers. You have an IT-"professional" who doesn't notice that his content filter subscription has lapsed long ago and therefore is not working any more. He has never heard of phishing, spoofing and all the other little dirty tricks that are out there of which even I, a non-IT-guy have heard, and probably half of the teenagers in that class.
You have a teacher who is clueless and careless about everything, but who developed an interesting partial memory: he is so uninvolved with his class that he cannot even remember if the substitute teacher he spoke with and instructed was male or female. Yet, this same teacher who cannot remember if the person he had to instruct that day about what she was supposed to do with his class was a woman or not, suddenly clearly remembers that definitely no student accessed his computer, which he carelessly had booted up and left running. Very strange.
Then you have the clueless defendant who also has no idea how to shut off the computer. Her defense, however, is the most plausible: she panicked in that moment as the pop ups flooded her screen. In a situation like this many people do dumb things or forget to do the most reasonable thing (like pulling the plug).

Worst: The defendant then hires an absolutely incompetent lawyer. Reading the transcript I got enraged more and more: it is so obvious that the defense attorney himself had absolutely not the slightes clue what he was talking about. He had no idea about computers, internet, viruses, etc. Of course, he totally botched the case, his direct and cross examinations were so confusing, if I had been a juror, I would have just blended him out. He was utterly incompetent in the face of the prosecution's "IT-expert." The one most important point, that the defendant could have clicked on a harmless sounding link and by this click have started the unstoppable series of pop ups totally got lost in his mumble-jumble. That was the moment he lost the whole case. He could have made this point already at the beginning of the case, in the cross examination of the prosecution's IT-expert, he actually attempted it, but he botched it.

From then it went downhill. Obviously, in the jury there was nobody who was familiar with current internet threat issues. Reading the transcript it seemed that the prosecutor was the guy who understood best what could have gone on, but he of course had no interest in telling.

I don't know if this is a generation gap problem, but this case was lost because not one of the participants tried to understand the issue or attempted to explain it to the jury.

I hope the appeal will be handled by someone else and will include an argument about incompetent counsel.

Del said...

A similar thing happened to me, except there were no students in the room. I was subbing in a high school and was eating my bagged lunch in an unoccupied classroom during a break in my schedule. A computer monitor on the other side of the room suddenly displayed a pop-up advertisement for what was clearly a porn site. Had I clicked on the little "x" to make it go away, I suspect it would have instead gone right to the bad stuff.

Julie's plight is a horrible travesty. Unfortunately, it is not the first time a substitute has been the underpaid scapegoat for the dirty secrets of a school.

God bless you, Julie and Wes. We are praying for Divine Justice to release you from this nightmare.

---Del Soady

Robin said...

I have just read the briefest overview of this business last night starting from an emailed newsletter I receive, within a few search results, I could not believe what I was reading!

I’m going to go on a bit here as I think this is horrific.

The conviction of Julie Amero on grounds of deliberate ‘endangerment’ (presumably of the morals of the pupils) seems incredible to me, yet it's happened. All because of a re-direct or hijack to a ‘naughty’ website. It should have been an incident passed off with a few sniggers, maybe a blush or two, end of story. For a start, the children were 11 and 12. Is somebody going to tell me they don’t know about sex and pornography at that age anyway? You can hardly become 11 without being aware of it I would suspect. I do not see what serious harm they can have suffered through this unfortunate event. It has probably now made a much greater impression on them than if it had just been laughed off. Has whoever brought this case considered that?

Julie can’t have set out to subvert the morals of her class, I am sure anyone with an understanding of malware, or just common sense, would come to the same conclusion. Why should she risk her job and reputation, and for what. This was a one off incident, she had not been indoctrinating pupils to commit immoral acts for weeks. If she had, somebody would have a point.

Kelly Middle School presented her with a PC running an older operating system, not exactly known for its security, with out of date antivirus software and NO antispyware. Were scripting and Active X enabled in IE6’s Internet zone? None of these items were under her control. If ‘endangerment’ is going to be taken so seriously, then the school must be held responsible for clearly being negligent in not protecting both pupils and staff and teachers from the risk.

How many items of malware had accumulated on that unprotected PC? How long had they been there before Julie had the misfortune to go near it that day in October 2004?

I’ve just dealt with a hard drive from an electrically burnt out PC which had 307 separate instances of malware on it, including ‘phone home’ keyloggers and backdoors. The owner asked for it to be securely erased after data recovery as it had ‘very confidential’ files on it. They might as well have broadcast the ‘confidential’ stuff on primetime TV. My point is, if you don’t run security software, run it properly and implement an informed security policy, as neither the school nor the owner of the above drive did, you very predictably end up with a compromised PC. Yet nobody even bothered to catalogue the malware on the drive of the PC at the centre of this case.

It seems Julie did all she could to prevent her pupils seeing the screen when something she herself must have considered inappropriate appeared, and asked for assistance from the school staff at the first opportunity. They didn’t provide it. What more is someone who is not ‘computer confident’ supposed to do?

There seem to be respected names in the computer community lining up wishing to give expert evidence for the defence. I am grateful to Ryan Russell for publicising this lunacy in the ‘Windows Secrets’ newsletter.

(For Ryan Russell’s article, go to http://windowssecrets.com and look at the 2007-02-22 issue. You will have to sign up for a free subscription, but it’s a good newsletter in any case.)

If anyone reading this has not seen a ‘Pop-Up Cascade’ in action, go to YouTube and search for the video ‘Spyware Rubbernecking’ by McAfee. If Julie got into something similar to this, there is absolutely no way she could keep control of what the machine displayed. Also, a classic hijacking technique is to use the ‘onunload’ event to simply reload the page you just tried to get rid of. Someone who just knows to click on ‘X’ Close Window Button’s is stuck with that page on the screen, whatever it’s showing. I find it very worrying that non-technical people feel they can competently rule on a case, however stupid, which hinges on technical matters, and decide which evidence should be admissible.

I feel very strongly that this case should never have seen the light of day, and the application for it thrown out on day one. It does not seem to have been conducted competently, reasonably, sensibly or diligently from the start.

I’d like to ask if there is a petition anywhere that I could sign up to electronically to protest at the treatment of Julie Amero. If there isn’t, I believe it would get a lot of support from reasonable, informed people, and especially those who know how malware can make computers misbehave. Julie might even be sentenced, but if enough people say they think this is madness, out of all proportion, and Julie could not possibly be responsible, it can’t be ignored, surely.

This must have been a truly horrendous experience to have to live through Wes and Julie. I have just finished a six year battle myself to prevent a miscarriage of justice, it is very stressful, I know. It is incredible in this day and age that there are people so narrow minded as have put you in this situation, and people in authority who have permitted it to get so far. They should be directing their attentions to the webmasters of truly offensive sites, phishing sites and serious spyware authors, not Julie Amero, who I think can be demonstrated on technical grounds alone to be an innocent victim of circumstance. You have my full support Julie.

Just a thought, but if minors are so easily damaged, how did, say, Paul Raymond end up a multi-millionaire or a billionaire or whatever, rather than spend decades in prison because one of his publications was found in a bin by an 11 year old?

Can I ask Wes Volle to put a link on the Blog to a petition if there is one please?

Robin, Director, Robin Digital Security, UK.

P G S - Australia said...

Recently I had a 2 month job with a state government office. My PC had limited network & no internet access - yet porno pop-ups occurred regularly. cleaning the registry & deleting what I could with my limited access worked OK if the machine wasn't re-booted.
With the amount of rubbish hiding in email & behind supposedly safe web pages, it is quite believable it just happened & wasn't put there by Julie

Anonymous said...

A similar thing happened to me when I was teaching in Scotland in 2005. Unbeknown to us, the council's firewall had broken down for some reason, and one particular computer kept accessing a porn site every time a perfectly inocuous link was clicked. We found that this had resulted from a student previously inadvertently clicking on a pop up taking him to a porn site which was blocked. Days later when the firewall broke down, clicking on anything sent the computer to that site.

Rob said...

I once spent 4 hours removing spyware & viruses, and changing altered settings back to normal on my cousin's computer (and installing antivirus!). Their computer was so compromised they could barely use it and they didn't go to porn (I believe most of the damage was done when her kids went to mp3 sites). Her and her two kids also didn't understand that those grey screens telling them they had to do (install) something were tricks, they would always just click yes or ok. Just another example from the average computer user world...
I agree with other comments, your original defense team wasn't worth the $ and I can't even believe you're getting prosecuted for a start. Plus your jury musta been composed entirely of computer illiterates.
I hope there's someone for you guys to sue when you come out the other end, this whole thing is ludicrous. Those prosecuting people have perjured themselves, they should be held to account.
Rob

Anonymous said...

So here's what I'd like to know, based on what I've read in the media:

Let's say the prosecutors are right, and Julie Amero spent all day looking at and downloading porn the day that the kids saw it.

What kind of crap-ass internet security system does the school district have that it would allow anyone in any school (or administrative office) even have access to porn sites? If Ms. Amero was able to access those sites, that means any kid could access those site, on school system computers. Which means that the school system was doing nothing to protect kids from porn sites.

I work for a public school system, and I can tell you all that any website that's deemed objectionable - porn, gambling, weapons-related, chat and email sites - are all blocked. No one, from the Superintendent to a student, in any school or any school-district-owned building, can access them.

jack said...

Mind boggling! But something you'd expect in a country that gets hysterical when a woman's nipple is seen at the superbowl, yet we can see graphic, cold blooded murders every day on our TV screens.

America is sick, and people like this lady become the victims of its sickness. America's absurd sexual morality, combined with its obscene violence, make it quite insane.

The people who have arrested, tried and convicted this woman should be locked up themselves, and for a very long time.

God help this woman, and God help us from these kinds of idiots.

Mr Invader said...

I just want to let you know that i feel for you. I am a computer engineer and network designer in Keego Harbor, MI and I see peoples machines ravaged by software that can cause these issues and worse. Were you and the students using idiot explorer? that's how 90% of these infestations occur. Besides. Where was the web filtering software that became prevalent in '95 after the failure of the Communications Decency act led the industry to prove that government regulation was not necessary to keep kids from exposure to this stuff. Bess is a solution one of my clients use and it works great. Please contact me if you need expert testimony on this.

Tom Houghtby IV

Anonymous said...

This case is bizarre.

Apart from the obvious injustice, the persecution of an innocent, the case shows the USA in a very poor light.

Julie's crime appears to be she doesn't understand viruses and popups.

The prosecuters & jury show themselves to be guilty of the same crime.

The school didn't have a firewall? The School is guilty of cowardice, sacrificing a teacher to avoid a lawsuit. What teacher would work for such a school.

Mike Regan said...

I was reading the Times paper making my way to work on the train this morning because I stupidly left my phone at work and came across your predicament and felt so angry about what I was reading I had to log onto my computer and right to you.

Where to start?

Looking at the date in the paper of October 2004 I couldn’t help but wonder how this sad state of affairs could have happened to you knowing the inherent flaws with the Windows Operating system of the time and the lack of security software preventing pop-ups from appearing when innocently browning the internet.

The release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP greatly reduced these issues but still hasn’t eradicated the issue preventing things like these arising but given the year and because you were working for a public school it is highly unlikely that you were using Windows XP and were using either Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000 who all have a very common architecture and share similar behavioral patterns when used meaning that each computer would have been easily exposed to malicious software installs and multiple pop-ups appearing on your computer added to this that your school was negligent in not having the firewall enabled GREATLY ENHANCING a problem like the one you experienced occurring because there was nothing protecting the school’s network, servers and computers from being hacked or transferring malicious malware creating even more pop-ups on the affected computer.

What’s even more disturbing, in fact there were a lot of things that disturbed me when reading the small article about your story is that Mr. Lounsbury did not search the computer for malicious software and has not therefore carried out a number or rudimentary tasks to locate any infected files, which I will demonstrate a little later on and the school saying that a situation like the one you experienced had never happened before and has not happened since.

My comment to this is that is total rubbish or at least it hasn’t been reported or it has been covered up! One question how long was the firewall de-activated for? springs to mind; the lack of firewall would have greatly exposed there network.

I am regarded as an IT professional and have worked for 10 different companies in the last 2 years alone and have worked for a children’s hospital, jewelers, construction right through to investment bankers and am shocked at how slack all of the companies are in certain areas and the levels of incompetence that I witness even now and absolutely stunned how the aforementioned Mr. Lounsbury did not do the required checks because I am quite sure I know away of identifying the difference between the simultaneous pornographic pop-ups that appeared on the computer on the day in question were accidental or deliberate. I have probably supported in excess of 10,000 people in the last 2 years.

When ever you log onto a computer almost all activity is audited and is found in a number of places on the operating system and is true of all GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating systems.

This is done by the computer’s operating system creating a ‘local profile’ when you log onto it for the first time irrespective of whether you have logged onto the school’s network or as in worked ‘offline’ or commonly referred to as ‘logging on locally’.

The creation of a local profile is simply a creation of a folder named as the username, for example if you logged on with the username AmeroJ, then the folder would be called ‘AmeroJ’, within this folder you have a series of folders containing information about what you do on the computer also, some ‘hidden’ folders and files which is the default behavior of all GUI-based operating systems, which are easily viewable within Windows Explorer by choosing to view ‘hidden files and folders’ within the folder options revealing 2 very important folders that trace all internet activity called ‘Cookies’ and ‘Temporary Internet Files’.

The purpose of the cookies folder is to create an index of web-sites accessed as a reference in the form of a basic text file to allow you to access the same website quicker next time.

The temporary internet files folder works with the cookies folder but is more advanced because it breaks down the internet pages into a whole host of files containing every image contained within all internet pages viewed and every time you access the same site it cross references the locally stored information with the website and reconciles any changes that exist within the website and the locally stored information contained within both the cookies and temporary internet files folders seamlessly (not realised by the user) and re-displays the internet page at a far faster rate. The more images on the website and the fewer changes when going back to it the greater the time will be saved because it is far quicker for the computer’s operating system to access and re-arrange data saved locally on your computer’s hard-drive than to download new content from a website even on today’s available download and upload speeds!

The crucial bit here that I am leading to is that all internet activity is HEAVILY AUDITED by the computer’s operating system because of what is contained in these 2 folders and also absolutely everything is TIME-STAMPED with a ‘modified’ (accessed) and ‘created’ (The date pertaining to the file being first created even if you access the website with the same picture the created date column will remain the same) date for that file.

I know that there would be a very obvious difference that would be clearly indicated here if you were to look with a good eye to see some correlation between genuine activity and separating those from the automated activity as in pop-ups appearing without you selecting anything or if you make repeated attempts to close a window of Internet Explorer containing the pornography for it to instantly load one or as is generally the case with pornographic websites often have half a dozen plus more Internet Explorer windows in it’s stead quickly finding yourself with in excess of over 50-plus instances of Internet Explorer on your screen and you will notice the computer start grinding to a halt because of the amount of simultaneous requests created by the multiple web pages loading up making it almost impossible to do anything because the computer’s operating system is struggling to remember what the malicious web pages are instructing it to do by caching that information and separating it from your request to cancel it and will simply ignore any effort you make to stop the web pages loading beyond your control.

There are utilities called msconfig that identifies any applications running - including those that you don’t know and something else called psservice, which shows even more information about what your computer is running ni the background that you don’t know about and these could still be used on that hard-drive even now!

I imagine that the police have the hard-drive from the computer that experienced these pop-ups that you are being charged for and can still identify these files to prove your innocence even today because a computer won’t delete the 2 aforementioned folders unless a person specifically with the user account used on the day, which I believe was your colleagues manually deletes them, or requests the operating system to do it for him.

Provided nothing has been tampered with the proof of your innocence is on that hard-drive which I am sure I could show!

If I can be of any assistance I will try to help you in any way that I can. I really feel for you because it disturbs me how easy it is to fall foul of computers and as I say I have supported thousands of people in the last 2 years alone and know that most people know next to nothing about what there computers are doing in the background when the user is using a computer, and that includes senior management, directors and even IT personnel would you believe!

I can be contacted at mike07957@yahoo.co.uk.

Yours sincerely,


Mike Regan

Mike Regan said...

Perhaps I can offer assistance

I was reading the Times paper making my way to work on the train this morning because I stupidly left my phone at work and came across your predicament and felt so angry about what I was reading I had to log onto my computer and right to you.

Where to start?

Looking at the date in the paper of October 2004 I couldn’t help but wonder how this sad state of affairs could have happened to you knowing the inherent flaws with the Windows Operating system of the time and the lack of security software preventing pop-ups from appearing when innocently browning the internet.

The release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP greatly reduced these issues but still hasn’t eradicated the issue preventing things like these arising but given the year and because you were working for a public school it is highly unlikely that you were using Windows XP and were using either Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000 who all have a very common architecture and share similar behavioral patterns when used meaning that each computer would have been easily exposed to malicious software installs and multiple pop-ups appearing on your computer added to this that your school was negligent in not having the firewall enabled GREATLY ENHANCING a problem like the one you experienced occurring because there was nothing protecting the school’s network, servers and computers from being hacked or transferring malicious malware creating even more pop-ups on the affected computer.

What’s even more disturbing, in fact there were a lot of things that disturbed me when reading the small article about your story is that Mr. Lounsbury did not search the computer for malicious software and has not therefore carried out a number or rudimentary tasks to locate any infected files, which I will demonstrate a little later on and the school saying that a situation like the one you experienced had never happened before and has not happened since.

My comment to this is that is total rubbish or at least it hasn’t been reported or it has been covered up! One question how long was the firewall de-activated for? springs to mind; the lack of firewall would have greatly exposed there network.

I am regarded as an IT professional and have worked for 10 different companies in the last 2 years alone and have worked for a children’s hospital, jewelers, construction right through to investment bankers and am shocked at how slack all of the companies are in certain areas and the levels of incompetence that I witness even now and absolutely stunned how the aforementioned Mr. Lounsbury did not do the required checks because I am quite sure I know away of identifying the difference between the simultaneous pornographic pop-ups that appeared on the computer on the day in question were accidental or deliberate. I have probably supported in excess of 10,000 people in the last 2 years.

When ever you log onto a computer almost all activity is audited and is found in a number of places on the operating system and is true of all GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating systems.

This is done by the computer’s operating system creating a ‘local profile’ when you log onto it for the first time irrespective of whether you have logged onto the school’s network or as in worked ‘offline’ or commonly referred to as ‘logging on locally’.

The creation of a local profile is simply a creation of a folder named as the username, for example if you logged on with the username AmeroJ, then the folder would be called ‘AmeroJ’, within this folder you have a series of folders containing information about what you do on the computer also, some ‘hidden’ folders and files which is the default behavior of all GUI-based operating systems, which are easily viewable within Windows Explorer by choosing to view ‘hidden files and folders’ within the folder options revealing 2 very important folders that trace all internet activity called ‘Cookies’ and ‘Temporary Internet Files’.

The purpose of the cookies folder is to create an index of web-sites accessed as a reference in the form of a basic text file to allow you to access the same website quicker next time.

The temporary internet files folder works with the cookies folder but is more advanced because it breaks down the internet pages into a whole host of files containing every image contained within all internet pages viewed and every time you access the same site it cross references the locally stored information with the website and reconciles any changes that exist within the website and the locally stored information contained within both the cookies and temporary internet files folders seamlessly (not realised by the user) and re-displays the internet page at a far faster rate. The more images on the website and the fewer changes when going back to it the greater the time will be saved because it is far quicker for the computer’s operating system to access and re-arrange data saved locally on your computer’s hard-drive than to download new content from a website even on today’s available download and upload speeds!

The crucial bit here that I am leading to is that all internet activity is HEAVILY AUDITED by the computer’s operating system because of what is contained in these 2 folders and also absolutely everything is TIME-STAMPED with a ‘modified’ (accessed) and ‘created’ (The date pertaining to the file being first created even if you access the website with the same picture the created date column will remain the same) date for that file.

I know that there would be a very obvious difference that would be clearly indicated here if you were to look with a good eye to see some correlation between genuine activity and separating those from the automated activity as in pop-ups appearing without you selecting anything or if you make repeated attempts to close a window of Internet Explorer containing the pornography for it to instantly load one or as is generally the case with pornographic websites often have half a dozen plus more Internet Explorer windows in it’s stead quickly finding yourself with in excess of over 50-plus instances of Internet Explorer on your screen and you will notice the computer start grinding to a halt because of the amount of simultaneous requests created by the multiple web pages loading up making it almost impossible to do anything because the computer’s operating system is struggling to remember what the malicious web pages are instructing it to do by caching that information and separating it from your request to cancel it and will simply ignore any effort you make to stop the web pages loading beyond your control.

There are utilities called msconfig that identifies any applications running - including those that you don’t know and something else called psservice, which shows even more information about what your computer is running ni the background that you don’t know about and these could still be used on that hard-drive even now!

I imagine that the police have the hard-drive from the computer that experienced these pop-ups that you are being charged for and can still identify these files to prove your innocence even today because a computer won’t delete the 2 aforementioned folders unless a person specifically with the user account used on the day, which I believe was your colleagues manually deletes them, or requests the operating system to do it for him.

Provided nothing has been tampered with the proof of your innocence is on that hard-drive which I am sure I could show!

If I can be of any assistance I will try to help you in any way that I can. I really feel for you because it disturbs me how easy it is to fall foul of computers and as I say I have supported thousands of people in the last 2 years alone and know that most people know next to nothing about what there computers are doing in the background when the user is using a computer, and that includes senior management, directors and even IT personnel would you believe!

I can be contacted at mike07957@yahoo.co.uk.

Yours sincerely,


Mike Regan

Elle said...

I am from Scotland, UK. I came across Julie's case only on Thursday. When I finished reading what Julie and Wes have been going through I sat and cried.

I would just like to say, as many others have, that the case should have some sort of Computer Expert looking at the evidence, not a court room full of people who do not even know how to turn one on.

If there is no one able with such expertise, then the case should be dismissed. The full case is unfair on Julie, who I regard as an innocent woman, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Unfortunately, pop-ups appear on all computers at some time or another. Put a stop to the people who make them and let an innocent women and her family get on with their life.

My thoughts are with you both and i hope all turns out for the best. Good Luck and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

What passes for justice in America is a farce. The bush regime can commit numerous crimes and everyone ho hums their way to starbucks. There should be incredible outrage to what is transpiring in this country. This is how fascism works, soviet style dog and pony shows where the outcome has already been predetermined. This could happen to anyone of us, yet the guilty parties (school) go free and the patsy(Ms. Amero) takes the fall. There is no dignity left, no accountability. Greed and treason, lies and deceptions seem to rule the day. The school board , the prosecution should burn in hell. The time has come for another revolution. We have taken our freedom for granted and now that freedom has been distorted and destroyed.

Anonymous said...

http://www.justice4matt.com/ExecutiveSummary.html

Check out the site above , about a boy in Arizona who's family spent a fortune to defend their son in a similar case where porn showed up on the family's person computer . but they finally proved it was caused from a hacker , Wish I had more to offer . Regards Tim Strickland

Anonymous said...

This just goes to show you there's something wrong in America.
Wes: I'm sorry, but hackers & people who program malware & such are NOT terrorists.
Mike Regan: Why did you WRITE such a long & irrelevant post?

Eddie said...

I work in a school district and monitoring the internet, keeping my network secure and keeping all the computers up to date is my responsibility (Thank God it’s a HIGH SCHOOL district) where the kids no more about porn than I do and they aint afraid to show it either.
Mrs. Amero can and should pursue legal action against the school district, if she can prove they were negligent in not performing proper maintenance to the technical facilities being used by personnel as well as children as per the Districts Technology Acceptance Use Policy, (if they have one).
HAVING...WINDOWS 98 may or may not be negligent, due to the fact that MICROSOFT stopped supporting it I believe Dec of 2006 (after extending the support deadline TWICE).
NOT HAVING...ANTI-SPYWARE software installed doesn’t make it negligent, but not keeping the OS (Win 98) updated to help prevent SPY-WARE might be.
NOT HAVING...ANTI-VIRUS...I think she definitely has a case as it pertains to the lack of an ANTI-VIRUS program. No computer in is WORLD (other than MACS) should be without an anti-virus software and it should be set to automatically update daily (upon booting up) whether it’s from the local network or the internet.
NOT HAVING...Adequate personnel to perform the tasks of keeping the technology updated, maybe grounds as well for legal action.
So I think she has options, this is definitely not all her fault, and its funny all the teachers in my district think turning the monitor off is turning the computer off, can't tell you how many times I've walked in monday morning and every monitor off and every computer is on.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard about this case, and saw that people were being asked to contribute to an appeal fund, I thought - this has to be a scam. The case is simply not credible. Everyone who has used the internet for more than a month has fallen into one of these cess-pit sites by accident. You couldn't even fire an employee on "balance of probability" on this evidence, let alone find them guilty "beyond reasonable doubt". At the very minimum, you'd have to prove that the defendant had exclusive access to the computer and had actively set out to bypass the school's content filter. If you took this story to Hollywood to sell the movie rights, they'd sling you in the street - nobody is this gullible! The movie audience just wouldn't buy it.

And then I searched a bit more. It is true. It really is true. No one at any point stood up and said "this is nonsense, we are going to look complete idiots to the world when this gets out". The DA should have said "I can't prosecute this case, the voters will think I'm a fool". The judge should have said "no case to answer" before the trial ever started. Don't tell me that none of the jury has never experienced this - yet not one of them had the guts to stand up and say "relying on my personal experience, I don't care that the defense attorney is a complete loser - this is a joke". Any one of them could have stopped this farce it its tracks.

Surely the Appeal court will rule a complete mistrial and the case will be dropped!

testum said...

Hello from France :)

Here the people who read your story are completly amazed ! One time again America show that justice can be completly crazy !

So much things happens to kids actually all around the world (in Africa they die every minutes) and the public money is use for silly persecution like that !
What a shame !

Julie, we are with you !!!

Anonymous said...

Wes & Julie, I can't believe this is happening in today's world.

Here is a link to someone that has successfully sued the manufacturer and store he purchased his computer from. Now he is going after Microsoft for it.

I think it is something you should pass on!

http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700861&cid=RSSfeed_TechWeb

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you both. I hope that all the grave errors made throughout this entire thing are finally rectified. Stay strong.

Stacey Brown said...

Hi Wes..sorry for what you and especially your wife are going through. I am a producer for a radio show. The show's host, Ed Norris is also a victim of misjustice and has been following your story. We'd like to have you on the show and help put some more attention on your cause. Please contact me at 410-828-7722. God bless.

-Stacey

Anonymous said...

Hi Wes..sorry for what you and especially your wife are going through. I am a producer for a radio show. The show's host, Ed Norris is also a victim of misjustice and has been following your story. We'd like to have you on the show and help put some more attention on your cause. Please contact me at 410-828-7722. God bless.

-Stacey

www.ednorris.com

Anonymous said...

First of all the computer administrator for this school should be in court as your co defendant.

Secondly if there is no computer administrator then the Principal should be sitting besides you as a co defendant.

Thirdly the school board should all be sitting with you in the defendants chairs. While I don't pretend to know if you are in fact innocent or guilty the crux of this case goes well beyond your personal innocence or guilt.

Perhaps if Principals and the school board were held accountable for what goes on with district computers they might spend a little extra time overseeing their fifedom.

Fritz said...

I am a security software engineer at Microsoft. It is absolutely possible that any user with administrator credentials could get her machine compromised when visiting innocuous websites. I am horrified that this prosecution succeeded. From what I have read of the case, the prosecution should have been thrown out of court. I have contributed to your legal defense fund and just wrote an email to the prosecutor. Best of luck on your appeal.

Phil said...

After reading through the many comments and geting a feel for this case I have two concerns in regarding the so called evidence.
First: Malware
As an IT expert I am no starnger to Maleware and the many ways it can affect / infect a windows based PC.
One method and probly one of the least know is what it called a Drive by download. This is a process whereas Maleware software downloads its self to an uprotected PC using a web spider. This little known process will install shortcuts and links throughout your desktop and Favorites without any user interaction or consent. To the un-educated novice PC user this would appear as it was done by a user.
More information on this here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci887624,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive-by_download

Secondly:The law reqiures that "it be proven beyond a resonble doubt"
With all the tech tools available to techincal support groups, one of the best wats to esure your employee's are not conducting in a comprimsing manner,is to run a Keylogger.

A Keylogger is a stealthy monitoring spy software which allows you to secretly track all activities of computer users in total stealth mode, and automatically deliver logs to you via Email or FTP, including all areas of the system such as email sent, Web sites visited, file operations, every keystroke, username and password, online chat conversation (ICQ, MSN, AIM), and take screen snapshot at set intervals just like a surveillance camera directly point at the computer monitor. Features include start and stop scheduling, logs remote delivery, stealth mode, user account filter, password protection, suspend on idle, powerful key logger, HTML report, logs sorting and searching. With this amazing monitoring software you will be able to see exactly what people have been doing online and offline just like you are looking at the computer monitor over their shoulders.

I fully support this style of prevention and would think that education system would have this sort of system in place because without it it would be virtually impossible to know what was typed or clicked.

Without this type of tracking software you would be hard pressed to convince me to point of "beyond resonable doubt".

In this day and age this sort of trial in pure negligence on the IT department's behalf and the forensic legal department to do thier jobs properly.

thePsychologist said...

It's quite possible for a virus or other malware thing to show porn. Why, I was in high school once and I was visiting a game website and some ad scripts launched a new window with a banner of a naked women advertising some porn.

But what I want to say is that I'm appalled that there's such a big deal over this---some kids perhaps saw some sexually explicit pics. Hell, there's nothing wrong with that. They weren't scarred for life. I'm sure all of them have seen naked people a thousand times over. This is ridiculous. It's normal to want to see naked people and nothing will happen. I mean, they see themselves naked when they take a shower. And by that time they're already interested in sex. I can't believe how ridiculous this is.

Anonymous said...

what is exactly wrong with the naked body anyway? it's how we were born!

Steve said...

I read with interest and great concern about your case. I run an IT Security company and have no doubt that you cannot be singled out for the presence of "pornographic" data on this insecure PC. If there was inaedquate firewall protection, lack of effective anti-spyware protection, out-of-date anti-virus protection, and times when the PC was accessible by others without your agreement or knowledge, it simply cannot be proven BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that you are to blame. The incompetence and sheer ignorance of the investigators and prosecutors is equally shocking. I wish you well and hope justice serves to point the finger fairly and squarely at the feckless school administration for failing to adequately safeguard and protect the children and staff of the school.

Anonymous said...

Dear Julie, how do you ?

I was astonished by the news about your trial ! Well, I surmise that it might exist some place in the U.S. where freedom actually exist (as here in Brasil where I live), thus why don't you move from there to another state or, even so, to another country ?

I hope you are well, and have faith - the most important thing.

Best wishes,

Antonio

dcli1@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

11-18-07
I am a substitute teacher also. Today was the Nightmare From Hell. I never had such misbehaved students. They were grades 10, 11 and 12, mixed. They were rude, loud and disrespectful not only to me and to each other, but to the principal and vice principal, and to veteran teachers I called on for help. It was the absolute worst day of my entire life, and nobody was able to help me. When threatened with detention and suspension, the students laughed. Julie's job was hard to begin with, and then this other thing had to happen to make it worse. It could happen to any teacher. God bless you Julie, you are not alone. Everybody's on your side.
- Sub. from New Jersey

Wes and Julie said...

Julie and I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Waiting for other news is all we can do.

Anonymous said...

So for all of us who blogged in support of Julie.... We would like to know how things are going? We would like to know if they finally dropped the whole thing? And we all hope you are sueing the pants off the school, police department, etc for your losses.