“She had no intent of any adult man or woman or school counselor or the school ever seeing these photos,” said Monica Beck, a lawyer for the student, in a Monday hearing. “I cannot understand how the school can contend they’re possibly relevant to a claim that a different boy sexually assaulted her.”
The photos were sent from the student to her boyfriend at the time, not the alleged assailant. The mother of the alleged assailant somehow learned of the photos’ existence and alerted the school, Beck said. A school resource officer got the photos on his personal cell phone as part of the investigation.
Lawyers for Gwinnett County Public Schools said in a hearing Monday that only the officer, another officer, a district lawyer and possibly an investigator from the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office had seen the photos. Lawyers and law enforcement officials cannot be prosecuted for viewing or possessing child pornography as part of a criminal investigation or as part of a lawsuit.
District lawyers said the photos may be relevant to the case, but didn’t specify how. Attorney Rick Menendez said it was still too early in the case to know for sure.
“We think that there’s a possibility it may be relevant and we don’t want to exclude it from evidence at this point,” Menendez said.
Judge Jones suggested limiting the number of people allowed to handle the photos. Jones’ full ruling is expected to be filed Monday night or Tuesday morning.