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Julie Amero Case Study

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            The trial of Julie Amero being subjected to endless spates coverage by the international media has similarly been dogged by controversies. Julie Amero (1967), a former substitute teacher has been previously convicted of the risk of injuring a minor and impairing the morals of the same- a conviction that landed her four counts. Nevertheless, on the 6th June 2007, the conviction was adjourned; granting her a new trial. On 21st November 2008, Amero pleaded guilty of the crime of disorderliness. However, the twist in this case has it that there are those along the scholarly and IT circles who see the offence as not being Amero’s but one akin to the school IT Administration’s failure to make adequate IT Security measures. By extension of this proposition, Amero is merely the sacrificial lamb suffering because of an institution’s ineptitude.

            The heart of the matter is that on 19th October 2004, Amero was switching classes for seventh-grade language lesson at a school in Norwich, Connecticut; Kelly Middle School by name. While Matthew Napp as the regular teacher was out, the teacher’s computer was subjected to accession by these students. The computer started showing pornographic literature when Amero came in and took charge.

The weight of the matter is epitomized by the fact that this felony charge she pled guilty to and was convicted for; carries a maximum charge of a 40 years prison sentence. To this effect, the second prosecution saw Amero plead guilty before Superior Court Judge Young, E. Robert for a single charge of disorderly or inappropriate conduct. According to Alex Eckelberry (Sunbelt Software), Amero will have her teaching credentials withdrawn, in addition to the 100 US Dollar fine she will have to pay.

            The crux of the matter is that along with the school’s computer network, the old computer was bereft of anti- spyware protection and firewalls to keep at bay inappropriate pop-ups. According to Delta and Jeffrey (2001), although the school was reportedly using the Symantec WebNOT Filter, yet it had not been licensed for the software updates, and as such, was not in possession of enough competence to ward off newly discovered pornographic sites.

            Further investigations have left investigators believing that the computer malware and spyware programs captured the machine’s browser so that the computer visited a pornographic site without issuing any warning. What is more interesting is that W. Herbert Horner as the defense’s expert witness was denied the presentation of any evidence supporting this theory in the first trial (Conwell 2007). This was despite the fact that 28 computer science professors admitted to the truth that there was no way Amero could have controlled or hindered the pornographic pop-ups (Shariff 2008). Further veracity to this new twist came in form of the fact that the uncontrollable pornographic flare-ups were spawned by newdotnet, a spyware program that had been installed on the 14th October, 2004.

            On the converse, Detective Mark Lounsbury, a computer forensic expert with the Norwich Police whose testimony was largely used by the court officials to help in the execution of Amero, testified on having solely relied on ComputerCop Professional in his forensic analysis. Nonetheless, going by the company’s own admission, this program remains unable to determine whether or not the site was accidentally or intentionally visited (Conwell, 2007).

            According to Conwell (Ibid), in addition to the above developments, an essay by Nancy Willard (J.D) at the CSRIU on the same case presents Amero, unable to abort the pornographic images pop-ups, panicking and running for help from the Kelly Middle School IT Department. As if to further confirm and buttress the innocence of Amero, for the prosecution, Detective Mark Lounsbury gave testimony to the fact that the computer had never been checked by the IT department against the presence of the malwares.


            Following the information accrued concerning Amero’s case, it does not seem hard to concur with the indictments against the Norwich Supreme Court of acting on the prima-facie evidence only. As a matter of fact, even the comprehensive consideration of the prima-facie evidence in itself would lead to the acquittal of Amero. The consideration of the point that the court counsel ignored the fact that although it was the duty of the Kelly Middle School especially its IT Department to ensure the installation of filters and malwares that are competent enough to ward off unlisted pop-ups, yet this was not done; leaves one wondering why the school and the IT department was left out of this judicial and internet laws furor.

            Likewise, the fact that the seventh grade students had made incursions on the computer shortly at the interval between the regular teacher, Matthew Napp walking out and Amero walking into the classroom being left out of the case; leaves the outcome of the judicial ruling more susceptible to lopsidedness and lack of objectivity. Throwing in into the whole affair, the fact that the investigatory information results presented by the Norwich Police computer forensic expert, Detective Mark Lounsbury was arrived at through the use of incompetent computer software programs (ComputerCop Professional) totally leaves the notion that Amero was a sacrificial lamb more formidable and convincing.


Delta, G. and Jeffrey, M. (2001). Internet Laws. Colorado: Aspen Publishers Online.

Conwell, M. (2007). Amero vs. State: A Miscarriage of Justice. Retrieved From:

Shariff, S. (2008). Cyber-Bullying: Matters and Solutions for learning Institutions. New York: Routledge.

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