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Former City Honors teacher faces new child porn charges

A former City Honors teacher accused of sexually exploiting female students was arraigned Tuesday on child pornography charges.

A new three-count federal indictment against Peter Hingston centers around allegations that he engaged in sexually explicit conduct with two minor victims and videotaped his conduct.

The 59-year-old Amherst man also is charged with one count of possessing child pornography.

The indictment is the latest chapter in the federal prosecution of Hingston, a former technology teacher accused of using a GoPro camera to videotape female students without their knowledge.

During his arraignment Tuesday, prosecutors revealed for the first time the existence of a school-owned computer used by Hingston and the difficulty the FBI is having in getting through its security software.

"The government wants to see what's on that computer before tendering an offer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo said of a possible plea deal.

DiGiacomo said the defendant denies installing the security software, and Hingston's defense lawyer said his client has handed over to the prosecution every password he ever used.

The initial criminal complaint against Hingston centered around allegations regarding 24 videos from a GoPro camera that FBI investigators claim he used in the classroom.

The videos, according to the complaint, show Hingston touching his genitals to girls in his classroom, all of them unaware of what he was doing.

Defense attorney Rodney O. Personius acknowledged the allegations sound "horrific" but that his client's conduct does not compare to other child pornography defendants.

"This involves troubling conduct but not the type of conduct that the victim was even aware of," Personsius told U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer.

Prosecutors said the investigation into Hingston began with students expressing concern to school officials and school officials then contacting Buffalo Police.

The FBI joined the investigation after Hingston’s termination and after learning that Buffalo Police were looking into whether he had produced child pornography.

Before his termination last year, Hingston spent 10 years as a technology teacher on the middle school level at City Honors.

He is currently in custody and, if convicted of the most serious charges against him – production of child pornography – could face up to 30 years in prison.

 

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