Talk of the Sound has obtained police records, which show that New Rochelle police failed to fully investigate a report of child of pornography involving students from the Albert Leonard Middle School, failed to follow leads in the case which suggest the images was received and transmitted by adults and destroyed evidence in the case the returned the cell phone used to take nude photo of a child to its owner, minus the nude photo.
According to an incident report filed by Detective Ray Andolina, the youth officer for the New Rochelle Police Department, the incident first came to light on December 10, 2008 when a 14 year old student at Albert Leonard Middle School informed school principal William Evans of a nude photo being circulated via cell phone for over a week among students at Albert Leonard Middle School and New Rochelle High School. Sources tell Talk of the Sound this is the same full frontal nude photo of a 7th grade student which was obtained and distributed by a security guard at Albert Leonard and distributed to other district staff throughout the district including security guards and other staff at Isaac E. Young Middle School.
The 7th grade girl in the photo has since relocated to New Jersey. Her 14-year-old boyfriend took the photo.
The incident report indicates that New Rochelle police failed to seek outside assistance to analyze the image and the cell phone despite the department’s lack of qualified personnel to perform such analysis. A knowledgeable source, familiar with the capabilities of the New Rochelle Police Department, tells Talk of the Sound that the department has no officers qualified to perform a forensic examination of electronic image, cell phones or computers. The report does not indicate any effort was made to obtain or review billing records or log files from the phone company, which would permit investigators to track the transmission of the image via text message or email.
The detective in charge of the case concluded that there were no other persons involved in taking the photograph and that there was no indication that any other persons had received the photo despite a statement by Principal Evans that he had received information that the photo had been circulated for “at least a week” at Albert Leonard Middle School and New Rochelle High School where a large percentage of the students are over the age of 16 and could be tried as adults. Some students at New Rochelle High School are over 18 and are legal adults.
Despite the failure to perform even a cursory forensic examination of the phone, the failure to obtain and use phone company records to track the distribution of the image and the information provided by Principal Evans that the image had been widely shared electronically for a week, the New Rochelle police concluded that “no suspects or crime can be determined”. The case was closed, the evidence destroyed and the cell phone returned to the 14-year-old boy who police say took the photo.
The report goes on to say that Principal Evans was advised of the results of the investigation and asked to contact Detective Anoldina in the event further information became available. There is no indication from police or school records that Evans or any other school officials contacted the New Rochelle Police Department when the District first learned of the involvement of a school security guard at Albert Leonard.
The New Rochelle Police Department has since been made aware that the same images was obtained and distributed by an adult security guard to other adults working for the school district but, so far, failed to reopen the investigation which would likely be made more difficult since evidence has been destroyed and the cell phone originally used to take the nude photo of a child has been returned to its owner.