Saturday, February 3, 2007

Welcome to 2004

George Orwell was a little off, but not by much. Technology has engulfed the average American at an alarming rate. To think that it is possible for the average layperson to understand all the ins and outs of how a computer works is just not reasonable. What’s worse, our employer’s don’t know any more than we do, and they rely on us to identify problems when they happen. If you are lucky, your employer will know what to do when a crisis happens with your system. If not you’ll end up like Julie arrested, ridiculed, demeaned and left with useless teacher’s degree in special education.
The illicit pornography industry is a business with estimated profits in excess of $2 billion annually. That’s a lot of reasons to attract rogue scriptwriters to circumvent any patch that Microsoft can come up with. Make no mistake, these programmers do not care about you or anyone else for that matter. Regardless of where these rogue programmers are located, they operate under the radar of social conscience and in my opinion are or should be considered terrorists or criminals at the very least.
Julie and I can’t afford to fight this battle on our own. Our expenses have been in excess of $20,000 to date. That may not sound like a lot to many people, but when you consider it is almost twice what she made substitute teaching in one year it puts it in perspective. The appeal process of Julie’s case is coming up. We have been in contact with a prominent law firm that we think is going to handle the appeal pro-bono. As we know more, I will blog it here. For the immediate future that is from now until sentencing on March 2, we are in need of financial help in two areas. First, it was highly recommended to us that we hire an Alternative Sentencing Investigator. His fees are $3,500.00. Second, there is the matter of bond for Julie while awaiting the appeal. We have no idea what that amount is going to be. The pre sentence bond requested by the prosecution was $50,000.00, that amount was reduced to $25,000.00.
Many people have asked if they could help financially. Up to this point, there was not a valid defense fund for Julie. I have established a PayPal account in Julie’s name.
Thank all of you who have come to Julie’s side with words of encouragement and support. Without them I don’t know how she would have been able to cope with this horrible ordeal.

Wes Volle
Julie Amero’s Husband


Cosmo.NB said...

Wes and Julie,
We are rooting for justice, and are glad to help. The Kelly Middle School should compensate you, for these unfair legal bills.
Best regards,
Cosmo & Family

Anonymous said...

I honestly hope things turn out..they say all that go to prison are not innocent but I don't believe that...with corruption as rampant as it is nowadays in our police state and government I'm never suprised at how things turn out. That fellow Smith should of not gotten that conviction to begin with..I practice law in a Civil level for friends and I'm fairly aware of how the judicial system can make mistakes but this one is a oops and travesty of a very big way...even the students testified that she did all in her power to not allow them to see..and the Tech testified that the malicious adware was present on the computer...that the school didn't keep it up to code in accordance to law ?? Get a good attorney and sue...that is the best advice...sue them for all you can get... Andrea said...

Having just stumbled across this "news" today. I feel I must say I have had this same thing happen to me on my computer in 1999. When my oldest son was in 7th grade. No doubt he had been surfing sites not appropriate for his age while I was not home and it was a real eye opener for me when I realized how this happened. I remember very clearly being shocked at what I was seeing, not just the pictures/ad's but the fact that as soon as you would try to close it another 1 would just take it's place. I don't remember how I managed to get this stuff off but by eventually shutting it down and asking a friend to help. Additionally I was visiting a friend in South Florida and discovered her son had managed to do the same thing with her computer. So I saw this happen once again about a year later. I managed to fix her computer myself that time but deleting cookies and history and such. I have no doubt Julie stumbled on something left over from a previous user. This case is a farce and should be thrown out! I wish you the best Julie, If I were a woman of means I'd be glad to send you money but all I can do is say I have seen it happen and I know you are innocent.

Anonymous said...

I have experience investigating computers and still do this specific level of investigations. I can give you all an objective analysis if you still have the hard drive and following computer legal investigation guidelines. But if it's spyware, I can validate, if it's not I can as well.

When reviewing a case of computer crime, the evidence must follow the chain of custody and forensic imaging must be performed. Within the computer when the data is deleted or not the exact locations that a person types in to surf is recorded. This information is time stamped with user name and password. What also should be noted is that even search criteria is captured.

If it's spyware, you can tell easily, if it's not you and go to the exact item they used.

Either way this case can be tossed out IF the prosecutor did not follow proper chain of custody or investigation.

I know this because I investigate computer abuse and have ensured that the proper computer review is conduct to have someone falsely accused. Let me know if you want my help.

Mamacita said...

Have none of these administrators seen the DVD of "Love Actually?" One of the deleted scenes shows, in vivid detail that even a principal might understand, how this kind of popup works.

I have posted about this on my blog. I have no money, but that much I could do.

I am so sorry this is happening. And believe me, I emphathize.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this sort of thing happen time and time again. Believe you me, one of the great themes on the mind of all 'good police officers' (I use that term sort of loosely) is to 'crack down on all pornography'. School teachers, ministers and homosexuals are all fair game for the dedicated persecutor -- err -- police officer.

Oh, and get this: after Julie gets out of prison -- let's say in forty years or whenever -- she will probably be required to have her punishment continue for at least another ten years while she is enrolled on the 'sexual offenders' list in your state and community. A one line, very terse entry, it will show her name and picture and state of what she was convicted. I know, because I have been listed therein for six years now. My crime? I pleaded guilty as part of an agreement since they were unsble to prove anything further. My mistsake was to allow a young man (19 years old) to wait in my bus station shelter on a cold winter night in the fall. It turns out he was a deliberate plant by the police intended to trick me. Police got me by claiming
he was a 'runaway'from home. I persisted I knew nothing about that, but persecutors cheerfully volunteered to stretch the whole case out 'at least for 2-3 more years. Or, if I wanted to get 'the mstter over with as quickly as possible' I could plead guilty to much lesser charges. Since it had cost me over ten thousand dollars at that point in time (attorney fees), I quickly agreed. The whole thing got me so nervous and upset I wound up having a heart attack and stroke in the middle of my first (of a dozen) court appearances.

I finally had to go with the public pretender (err, defender).
The rotten 'public defender' who was to represent me got up on my secon or third court appearance (while I was still in a hospital bed) wrung his hands and said 'he thought that under the circumstances the best thing to do would be to plead me guilty.' He spent all of five minutes on my case, or maybe three minutes. When I finally came to realize there was no way out of it for me, I decided to fold and cut my losses.

Because I did not keep resisting or pursuing my innocenence claims I got off lucky; the judge was sort of bored that day and I found out later he had sentenced me to two years, 'IDOC' (Illinois Department of Corrections) which had me serve six months and tossed me out very unceremoniously.

I imagine Julie will get something similar if this is her 'first offense' as it was mine and assuming she waits until she is out and in safety before pursuing it further. Its like a game to those people; move folks in and out of 'the system' as fast as they can, make room for new ones and get rid of the old ones. But if she puts any kinks in their ointment, protests innocence and all that, watch for them to come downhard and heavy. Your best hope by now is that the persecutor has mostly forgotten about her and moved on to other cases.

I am sorry I do not have even five dollars to spare right now; I am still disabled (as a result of the heart attack and stroke) and partially paralyzed in a wheel chair. Believe me, police know exactly how and where to get anyone they want; they sure did me and it sounds like Julie also.


lww said...

I'll bet you hear a lot of "it happened to me.."
I am a retired government employee,
Dept of Defense, and was demonstrating how the internet worked
to some visitors. I meant to enter but instead typed .com and the porn started, and wouldn't stop. I was very embarrassed and it took several seconds to occur to me to turn the thing off. It had changed my homepage so when I opened the browser I got the same stuff.

I wish you luck.
I've added a bit to your fund and send a link to my friends.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion is to immediately contact Barry Scheck at the Innocence Project!!!

I came to know them through John Grisham's book "The Innocent Man."

I am contacting the prosecutor to inform him that as a Chief Software Architect, I can make his entire team out as the bumbling idiots they are.

As a final thought, you may want to also contact Mr. Grisham's publicist; he could develop quite a story around technology and where it has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement because of their lack of technology expertise.

BobR said...

The sad thing about this type of crime (not the farce Julie has been subjected to, the real crime of computer invasion being perpetrated by the "faceless, nameless", "businessmen" who cause things like this to happen to innocent peoples' computers), is that you don't even have to visit a "site innapropriate for your age group" to have this happen to you.

It's fairly well known that video game sites can be a cesspool of this kind of invasive "spyware", and kids going to these sites to find the newest "cheat codes" for the latest video games may be getting far more than they (or their parents) have bargained for.

"Trojan horse" software which can take over your computer and involve it in computer crime without your knowledge, "keyloggers" which can record every keypress as you type (including your passwords, credit card numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.) and which then e-mail everything you've typed to their "creators" out on the Internet, viruses which can impair or destroy your computer, and "driveby downloads" which insert "bad programs" onto your computer which includes exactly the same kind of "malicious Active-X Controls" that infected the computer Julie was using to cause unrequested popups of advertising for everything from fake Viagra to porn. All of these things can be deposited on your computer from ANY web site, not just ones "inappropriate for an age group".

And the underlying cause of course, is greed. The web site operators get paid by the purveyors of this kind of "malware" to place it on their sites, where it will infect the computers of anyone who visits. That means even innocuous looking sites (video games, hair styling, clothing, etc.) can be guilty of this. That also means no one in Julie's class had to actually have visited a "porno site" for the pop-up ads to start appearing.

The pop-ups could have been for anything- fake Viagra, phony mortgages- or porn.

Having this kind of stuff pop up on a computer screen is no different from having a Post Office employee deliver a bulk mailing from a porn site in a plain envelope. And the individual responsible for that computer is no more guilty of anything than a homeowner who has an advertisement fall through his mail slot.

The point is, the people behind doing this sort of thing are driven by greed, which is a great motivator to develop ways and means of infecting as many computers as effectively as humanly possible. It's THEY who should be prosecuted, not the innocent recipient of the malware.

dpeters said...

I'm only going to say this once. This case has NOTHING to do with technology. This case is about human beings. That's it.

You want to stop something like this from happening again ? Then this is what you do. You start a campaign to eradicate the beliefe in some invisable being in the sky, AKA GOD. When you have a country like ours where at least half of the people beleive in irrational things ( like creationism ) you get irrational results. You get people making decisions based on emotions or 2000 year old books instead of common sense. Decisions like if a kid sees porn that kid is now ruined for life so you better just throw him or her away. And oh, since the effect on the kid is irreversable we have to throw the person responsible away also. We live in the 21st century yet our country acts like it's the 16th century.

Anonymous said...

Hey keep your heads up you two!

I just donated some money to help you out.

There is a HUGE following of your case on the internet.

On, one of the most popular sites on the net your story has been a very important discussion and there are so many people that DO care about you and will stand up for you from around the world.

Anonymous said...

Oh I also forgot to say that I think you have very very solid grounds to sue the schoolboard.

Anonymous said...

It is with great sadness I read about this woman's fate. Years ago I searched for "Saint Valentine" for a friend's daughter near Valentine's Day. She was going to write a paper on its origin. One of the resulting pages was appropriately titled, but when I viewed it, I was aghast at the graphic porn I saw. I was quite glad I wasn't at the young lady's family computer at the time! Any effort to close the page simply yielded another graphic porn page.

I looked up the owner of the website on (or its equivalent at the time) and complained about his use of "Saint Valentine" to draw visitors to his porn site. The idiot declared he could not be responsible for what the search engines deliver to searchers. I informed him that I knew he set up the search criteria on his page and linked any attempt to exit the page to other pages employing the same strategy. He did not respond again.

I sincerely hope that sanity will reign in this case, and justice will become more valuable to all parties than a conviction to demonstrate "zero tolerance" of that which should not be tolerated, but could not have been predicted.

I've been there, but fortunately was alone when it happened.

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
-- George Washington

Anonymous said...

All the best with the case. Just goes to show the incompetencies of the Windows' software programs and the people who are suppose to protect us from the "real" bad people.


Sunbury, Australia

Tony said...

I just finished composing an e-mail to the Governor of your fine (sarcasm intended) state.

I very politely expressed my concerns, as the C.I.O. of a major healthcare company, on the issues. I suggested that perhaps a proactive pardon might be in order...

Anonymous said...

I sent the following e-mail to the prosecutor. I wrote this letter in complimentary tones so that he might actually read it.

Dear Mr. Smith;

I trust your intentions are in the best interests of the public and justice. Computer technology is often exceedingly abstract and obtuse, and it can be most difficult dissecting the "logic" that they employ. I often tell my customers that with computers, the logical reality and the physical reality rarely have anything to do with each other.

I am a computer consultant with over 25 years experience, including time having worked for NASA, and hundreds of law firms both as a computer consultant and computer forensics consultant. From what I have been able to ascertain about Julie Amero's case, you appear to be severely misguided. The fact that there was no adequate or effective protection in force (the explicit and confirmed absence of a valid anti-malware license or firewall [either software or hardware]), on that computer she allegedly performed these crimes on, absolutely negates the judicial or constitutional propriety of persecuting Ms Amero. The facts as they were presented to the jury egregiously omit facts proving this. I urgently ask you to cease prosecution of Ms Amero and absolve her of any crimes.

With best wishes for you in a very difficult time,

Forrest Bittner Chambless
Lincolnton, NC 28093

Anonymous said...

Is this for real?????

Your system seeks a FORTY YEAR jail term for accidentally letting kids see a few nudie pictures?? My god, you're such prudes over there. Claims for damages in the thousands of dollars for a flash of Janet Jackson's boob, and now this?

I think the prosecutors need some perspective. There is no risk of injury to a child for seeing a few pictures, the likes of which they can and do happily find themselves in their own time!

It's just a few pictures of sex. Its not like the hit the kids with a baseball bat.

Anonymous said...

The people at fault here seem to be the school for not having the proper protection on their computer equipment. Not a user error.

Beth said...

Who is the IT person that represents this school? I think you may find some hidden answers there.
Moreover - If there was a spy blocker that had been installed, then who uninstalled it?

There seems to be something fishy in the oven here and at the end of this investigation, it could be found that someone has dabbled with the software? I personally don't beleive that this teacher would compromise her situation - but to state the obvious - someone else certainly has.

I wish you luck, and may the person who has created this trauma for you - be found and dealt with appropriatley.

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

Yours sincerely,

Mike Regan

Anonymous said...

attention Wes Volle

Would you or Julie be interested in being interviewed on my radio show? If so, please email


Anonymous said...

How does this work? I assume that a custodial sentence will be passed and that you will appeal. Does Julie have to go to prison pending the results of the appeal?

dkrt said...

With all the true crime and violence that occurs in the world, I find it hard to believe that the judicial system has time for something like this. This whole thing is ludicrous. I can't believe the people truly responsible for this are not in prison --the people who created the pop up ads to begin with. Where are they??? And why are they able to continue to do what they are doing when an innocent woman's life is being destroyed? If law enforcement spent as much time trying to find and convict them as they are trying to persecute an innocent woman, maybe there would be true justice in this country. This whole thing makes me sick. *Hugs* to Julie and her husband, I wish you all the best and hope the jury is allowed to 'get' what really happened and dismiss all charges. A lawsuit against the school district would be more than appropriate and would give them more incentive to make sure something like this can never happen again.

Snoops (Ass. Manager CF) said...

I would like to refer you to the thread at Community Feedback (an MSN Group), the link to the article was posted by myself for an indication of our support.

Anonymous said...

we are with you here in MD and following closely the case

Gigi said...

Dear Julie and Wes,

My husband and I are very distressed by this horrible experience you are having. I was a classroom teacher and my husband is an IT professional. We also had trouble conceiving and are deeply moved by your loss. There are many people who are working to help you clear your name. I have published links to help you in my math newsletter which has 32,000 subscribers.

Gisele and Dave
Cortlandt Manor, New York

Anonymous said...

we looked at the E-Rate Site and confirmed the following, that Norwich did apply for E-Rate and since they applied for Internet Services had to sign the statement that they provided filtering, see below. Hope this helps. s

Service Address City Zip $ Amount Discount(%)
Sum       $47,961.63

For Year 2006....

Service Address City Zip $ Amount Discount(%)
Sum       $11,614.68

Service Address City Zip $ Amount Discount(%)
Sum       $50,105.32

I only checked the first six waves for Year 2006 (there were 49!) So, there may be more. Telecomm services usually means telephone or data. Telephone doesn't always require a technology plan, but usually requires CIPA. In Year 2007 you see Internet. That requires both a plan and CIPA, I believe. (Unless there is some loop hole with which I am not familiar.)

Peter Zilahy Ingerman said...

Several of us who are computer experts would like very much to be available to Ms. Amaro's legal representation, since we feel that this is a clear example of the court's not understanding the technology involved. We would be prepared to work *pro bono*. Is there some way you could let us know counsel's name and contact information? We could be reached at

Jakub said...

Seeing all the comments here, and in the technology press on the net (which is also overwhelmingly supportive of your cause), it's heartening to see such an outpouring of support for you from all corners. I join thousands of people worldwide who are absolutely floored that your case ever became a case, that the wheels were ever put into motion in the first place, let alone allowed to spin off the tracks as wildly as has happened.

I hope that you are able to recover damages from the school district after this is all over. And the prosecution too, if it could be possible.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I am also in the IT field and I can see many flaws in the case. In fact, I am wondering why the school hasn't been held responsible for unsupervised internet access by children while the other teacher was on duty. Especially with the absence of an up to date firewall, real time spyware protection, and an enterprise class Websense type software in place.

I hope that you are dealt a fair trial and the prosecution swallows some pride and admits a weak case.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone ever think to question the classroom teacher, Mr. Nett. What teacher leaves an instruction to not turn off the computers. Why did that particular instruction get overlooked. Did Mr. Nett do something to the computers before he left?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone questioned Mr. Nett?. What teacher leaves an instruction about leaving the computers on. Especially one so direct. That doesn't make sense to me. I have been a teacher for 6 years and I never once even thought about the computers when I was going to be off. It's suspicious to me! Check into it!