UPDATED: Stevens director stands with victims in wake of former teacher’s sentencing on child porn charges
Feb 27, 2014 | 759 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN AND JERSEY CITY – Sergio Alati, the head of the Stevens Cooperative School, a private school with campuses in Hoboken and Jersey City, said that he and the entire school community stood with the victims of a former school employee, Guy West, who on Wednesday was sentenced to 121 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography.

"For educators, the safety and well-being of the children that we are entrusted to care for is our utmost priority, and we do everything possible to make sure that no one with ill intent can harm a child,” said Alati in a statement. “Mr. West’s actions were a blatant violation of everything that our school holds sacred. In the immediate aftermath of his arrest, we barred him from returning to school grounds, terminated his employment, and fully cooperated with all legal authorities. Our hearts go out to the victims that were affected by his crimes.”

West had pleaded guilty last month before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to one count of distribution of child pornography. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "West was working as a permanent substitute teacher who regularly taught and supervised children between the ages of 2 and 14 at the time of his January 2013 arrest. According to documents filed in the case and statements made during West’s guilty plea proceeding:

"West admitted that on Dec. 18, 2012, he made images and videos of child pornography available that were stored on his home computer for others to download via a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. On that date, an undercover law enforcement agent successfully downloaded 120 images and 24 videos of child sexual abuse from West via the file-sharing network.

"As part of his guilty plea, West agreed to forfeit the computers and computer accessories he used to commit the offense.

"The count of distributing child pornography to which West pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine."

Last year, The Reporter published a story in response to West's arrest about how local schools screen job applicants,

In the story, Director of Communications for Stevens Cooperative School Wendy Eaton said that West worked a normal daily schedule and was in the classroom almost every day.

“Mr. West was used where he was needed, in the office, in classrooms when extra teacher help was needed and substituting for absent teachers,” Eaton said. “Many of our families felt warmly about him. There were never any reports from parents that he had acted inappropriately with students.”

Eaton said that although it is not required by law for independent or private schools to conduct criminal history background checks on employees, Stevens Cooperative School chooses to have the New Jersey Department of Education’s Criminal History Review Unit conduct them anyway. This, according to Eaton, is in addition to interviews with a variety of administrators and faculty. Applicants are also required to provide an array of references that are thoroughly checked.

West apparently had no prior record.

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