First Paideia, now Pace. Staff member arrested for child porn.

Parents at two of Atlanta’s most prestigious private schools are reeling from the child pornography arrests of school staff.

A few days ago, the AJC reported that a Paideia school janitor was arrested on child porn charges. In a letter, the Paideia headmaster informed parents that the janitor allegedly told federal investigators he placed hidden cameras in the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms at the private Druid Hills academy.

Headmaster Paul Bianchi wrote that Josh Ensley, a janitor for Paideia for 17 years, was arrested after he received illegal materials through the mail. Agents charged him with possession of child porn after a search of his home computer.

A search of the bathrooms at Paideia, which instructs students ages 3 through 18, turned up no recording devices, according to Bianchi.

Now, it is the Pace Academy headmaster sending a shocking letter home this evening to parents at the Buckhead school announcing the arrest of veteran fine arts teacher William Villemez for “possession of child pornographic images, which were purchased from his home computer. These images came to light as a result of a multi-year federal investigation, which we learned about today.”

In 2010, federal agents began investigating a Canadian company that offered child porn videos for sale via the U.S. Postal Service and the Internet. In May 2011, authorities executed a search warrant at the business and seized computer records and printed records. Villemez’s name and address — and the DVDs he had ordered — were on the customer lists, according to the affidavit.

Pace headmaster Fred Assaf said Villemez “is no longer employed by Pace Academy. We are cooperating with federal agents as they continue their investigation”

Assaf stressed that, according to federal investigators, the fine arts teacher “has not involved any current or former Pace students in this situation, and there is no evidence of inappropriate physical contact between the teacher and Pace students or other children.” Villemez has no record of previous criminal activity, said Assaf, in his letter to parents.

According to the letter:

Our faculty was made aware of the situation immediately after school today, and we will meet with students in the Middle and Upper Schools tomorrow morning. The emotional well-being of our students is our primary concern at this time. This news is incredibly shocking and upsetting to all of us in the Pace community, and we know that healing will take time.

We also know that this will be difficult to explain to students, but I believe that it is best to be clear and honest with them. I would advise every parent to use his or her discretion in discussing these matters with their children; however, as much as we might want to shield them from the situation, this may serve as an opportunity to discuss the pervasive issue of pornography in our culture. I also encourage you to bring any concerns to my attention immediately.

We are working with our faculty, counselors and outside experts to ensure that we are prepared to handle any questions or issues that arise as a result of this situation. Please know that our counselors and administrators are available for students and parents with questions or concerns.

We will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available and welcome questions during this difficult time.

Sincerely,
Fred Assaf, Head of School

Let me stress that both men stand accused, not convicted. Please keep that in mind when commenting.

The AJC now has a story online about a 17-year-old football player at the Westminster Schools sexually assaulting a teammate in the gym showers at the prestigious institution.

Earlier today, the school sent an email to parents, school trustees and staff alerting them what police are investigating as a sexual assault.

“I write to you in order to express deep concern regarding an incident that took place last week involving a few students on the varsity football team,” school president William Clarkson wrote. “I can assure you that we have taken all steps within the school’s strict guidelines and protocols regarding such matters, including the fulfillment of our responsibility to report this particular incident to the Atlanta police. They are now in charge of the investigation, and we are cooperating fully with them.”

–from Maureen Downey, for AJC Get Schooled blog

57 comments Add your comment

crankee-yankee

October 29th, 2012
8:10 pm

Disgusting turn of events

crankee-yankee

October 29th, 2012
8:13 pm

These people ARE NOT educators, they are scum.

Pride and Joy

October 29th, 2012
8:30 pm

ANY profession that gives access to children must carefully monitored. The Boy Scouts, priests, teachers, coaches — all of these professions have had an abundance of pedophiles. That’s why I am all for the mandatory reporting law.
And of course, expensive private schools, charter schools and traditional public schools and teachers and employees in them must be watched and monitored.

Linda

October 29th, 2012
8:33 pm

Lynn43

October 29th, 2012
8:53 pm

Please look into the reported lawsuit filed against the governor for the deceptive ballot language on Amendment 1.

Me

October 29th, 2012
8:57 pm

What’s sad is that these type “people” are everywhere. They’re in the schools,the churches, the hospitals and even some cases homes. Any place where there is the potential of someone being naive or helpless you will find a predator. The best we can do as parents is talk to our kids and stay vigilant.

Sk8ing Momma

October 29th, 2012
9:11 pm

This is just a sad reminder that pedophiles often surround themselves in settings filled with children. Note to parents: We need to educate and warn our children.

Frank

October 29th, 2012
9:18 pm

Sounds like we need to educate our school administrators on how to screen potential teachers.

Jack

October 29th, 2012
9:25 pm

Ah yes: “…we might want to shield them from the situation,..”. Might as well turn off the teevee and internet while you’re at it.

bj

October 29th, 2012
9:27 pm

Hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to these schools every year by hard-working parents, and they can’t spend a little for better security measures? What is wrong here? Where is all that money going??

lovingthe ATL

October 29th, 2012
9:29 pm

Wow Frank Ski didn’t say anything. Since he always on the air bashing public schools. Private schools is just a facade as to appear it is safe because you are paying for a better education. At the end of the day it is the same thing.

Another comment

October 29th, 2012
9:41 pm

I reported to the Cobb Supt. about a High School teacher who was co-teaching classes ( so I guess he was a special Ed teacher) English Classes, in high school. The High School Juniors and Seniors somehow thought or were led by him to believe that he was a student teacher. He was having sex with at least one 18 year old Senior girl that I know of. Then he was rewarding her by providing her with a fake ID. She then used the Fake ID to purchase 4-Loco’s that got several other students in addition to her self into trouble.

The female student claimed to other students that he was only a Student-Teacher. Not a real Teacher so it was Ok for her to have sex with him. I tried to explain to one of the other students that got into trouble because of the fake ID purchase, that it didn’t matter that it he was a Student-Teacher, he was a “Person in Custody” or a school Employee. Either case is not allowed to have sex even with 18 year old Senior high school students. It was only after I reported this and the school police officer interviewed me that I found out that the male was an Teacher who was co-teaching an English classes with an English teacher. So that led me to conclude he was a special ed teacher. Which is why the female students who were Honor’s and AP students did not know that he was a teacher and not a student teacher.

I am still waiting for a report in the news that this creep has been arrested.

If you want more information Maureen, e-mail me and I will send you what I sent Dr. H and what Dale Gaddis sent me.

More Issues

October 29th, 2012
10:11 pm

In another outrageous situation, a parent I know reported her child’s pediatrician to the police for inappropriate physical sexual contact. In the state of Georgia, this is not a crime as long as the patient is at least age 16. While teachers are and should rightfully be held accountable, it is not a crime for a pediatrician to have inappropriate (and I mean grossly inappropriate) sexual contact with a 16 year old patient in the office.

exteacher

October 29th, 2012
10:21 pm

My guess is for the most part these folks are very quiet about what they are, and careful in their activities…It is hard to tell by looking. There are so many odd sexual preferences out there and I am sure no one knows who or what they are. The major problem is that they prey on children, who can never consent. Is there actually a way to screen for such things? It is obvious that some professions REALLY attract these individuals.

Needabailout,too!

October 29th, 2012
11:43 pm

It’s not just teachers at local private schools, story about a sodomy incident w/ a foreign object, aggravated sexual assault from one Westminster football player against another in the locker room. All only alledged, of course….

Fred ™

October 29th, 2012
11:51 pm

Is the glass half empty or half full? Are there MORE of these $%#^ pedophiles out there preying upon our children, or are we just getting better at catching these rat bastiches?

I like to think that we are better educating our children about inappropriate behavior that they speak up and these pieces of snail dung don’t last as long “in the wild” molesting children. I like to think that law enforcement stings are getting these genetic malfunctions out of society and away from our children.

I like to think that folks who USED to get away with this crap are now being outed and arrested. Remember, hell is for children…………..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxYsi5Y-xOQ

betsy s

October 30th, 2012
2:05 am

False sense of security at these private schools, quit bashing public schools……lesson learned.

catlady

October 30th, 2012
6:53 am

Pornographists are ubiquitous. Everywhere. Endemic. Public schools, private schools, charter schools, ministers, Boy Scouts, ball coaches, everywhere.

TeacherMom4

October 30th, 2012
7:38 am

Public and private schools can run all the background checks and fingerprints they want. Until someone gets caught, they have no criminal record. It isn’t always lack of oversight. I have not seen enough to know if this individual had a criminal record that was missed or not, but if they didn’t, there’s really no way for the school to know what they were doing in private.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
7:51 am

Maureen, are you trying to suggest that private schools are now worse than public schools because of some janitor who got arrested for child porn?

I can easily point out the hundreds of public school teachers who get arrested for having underage sex with students.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
7:52 am

“Let me stress that both men stand accused, not convicted. Please keep that in mind when commenting.”

So why even post a column about it? Seems to me that this is nothing but a hit piece on private schools.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
7:53 am

“Sounds like we need to educate our school administrators on how to screen potential teachers.”

Then again, the guy who got arrested is a janitor.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
7:55 am

“False sense of security at these private schools, quit bashing public schools……lesson learned.”

Most private schools do have better track records than public schools.

skipper

October 30th, 2012
8:14 am

There is a simple solution….the janitor should be taken outside, hung in broad daylight, and let that be the end. He did what he did….he even admitted it. Some soft-hearted leftie will call it a sickness. It shouldn’t matter. Even if he is “sick”, he needs to be done away with for the public good. The fact that tax dollars will be spent to defend this gutter rat is a travesty. Hang him, take the money that would have been used for his defense and donate it to a reputable local charity. Coddling people like this, letting attorneys get rich defending the indefensible, and appeal after appeal being filed is helping to ensure that we as a nation are losing our way….

  

October 30th, 2012
8:59 am

False sense of security at these private schools, quit bashing public schools……lesson learned.

Lesson not learned.

intowner

October 30th, 2012
9:15 am

I am assuming these two were netted by the same FBI investigation? Question becomes how long until they’ve chased down every “lead”…
Once i found out that pedophiles convicted to life sentances were culling local small town papers for proud-parent blurbs on their kids, all data and photos they could, then sharing them with other incarcerated pedophiles, i’ve been really militant about not giving media rights to anyone for my daughter. Now she’s older and i’ve relented, but when young – never. And after reading case studies about how older men start inadvertantly (sp) changing their predilictions to younger girls, i’m not surprised at the continued perceived rise in internet child porn. I think it is becoming more common; more of it out there, more people trip across it and find they like some of it, look for more, and it spirals from there. You can train your brain for dang near anything…

Another comment

October 30th, 2012
9:23 am

@phil from Athen’s she seems to have hit a nerve or pervert cord in you.

Another comment

October 30th, 2012
9:28 am

I have learned don’t ever give pictures of children to anyone that might send them to anyone in Prison. My stupid ex-mother-in-law sent my daughters pictures to her son in prison for drug dealing. Then announces someone stole the pictures of the girls but nothing else, could she have some more to send him of his nieces. I said hell no. What was she thinking, these are her granddaughters.

mystery poster

October 30th, 2012
9:55 am

@More issues:
“It is not a crime for a pediatrician to have inappropriate (and I mean grossly inappropriate) sexual contact with a 16 year old patient in the office.”

That may be the case, but it is against the AMA’s code of ethics for ANY doctor to have sexual relations with a patient. I read this recently in response to senator DeJarlias’ indiscretions.

So, at the very least, this doctor should lose his license to practice.

bootney farnsworth

October 30th, 2012
10:06 am

private schools may be safer than public schools simply because the can put people out, or choose not to allow them in. public ed doesn’t have the luxury.

‘course, private schools have the fiscal and PR resources to keep things quiet when they do occur, so….

skipper

October 30th, 2012
10:21 am

True pedophiles should all be shot; let God sort ‘em out…..

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
10:22 am

“she seems to have hit a nerve or pervert cord in you.”

What’s a “pervert cord?” She attacks private schools every other day so yes, she hit a nerve since she can’t defend public schools. Sort of like Obama cult followers can’t defend Obama but can only attack anyone who disagrees with him.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
10:23 am

“I have learned don’t ever give pictures of children to anyone that might send them to anyone in Prison. My stupid ex-mother-in-law sent my daughters pictures to her son in prison for drug dealing.’

Life must be tough in the trailer park.

Shar

October 30th, 2012
10:29 am

Good heavens, this is not a public vs. private fight. That kind of distraction diminishes the ability to focus on the actual problem, which is the safety of children in ANY group environment where oversight is left in a single pair of adult hands.

However, it seems to me that neither the Paideia nor the Pace situations comes close to the appalling situation at Westminster. No Pace or Paideia children were touched, solicited or even approached by the accused adults (the janitor has admitted placing cameras in bathrooms but those videos do not appear to have been exploited in any way other than the guyls sick enjoyment). The assaulted Westminster student had to go to the hospital to be “checked”.

The Westminster football player who assaulted his fellow student – on school property, in the showers – apparently did so in a sufficiently public manner that several of his teamates knew about it. It seems highy unlikely to me that such an attack could have been the first bullying tactic used by this disgusting 17-year-old thug, nor could it have been the first time that the thug bullied this student particularly or any student at the school. How much did Westminster know about this thug, and how long have they been brushing his behavior under the rug?

Pace and Paideia acted as soon as they knew of the problem. It seems apparent that Westminster chose to tolerate this student’s behavior in the name of protecting their school’s brand or perhaps even their football team (shades of Penn State!) and has only been forced to acknowledge the problem by the hospitalization and police involvement.

I sincerely hope that the police are in the office of the president of Westminster right now, and that the Board has been convened.

williebkind

October 30th, 2012
10:40 am

What do Priests and teachers have in common?

Hillbilly D

October 30th, 2012
11:03 am

I think we have to always be on guard against these people, doesn’t matter if it’s public school, private school, etc. They go where the victims are

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
11:05 am

“What do Priests and teachers have in common?”

They both taught Barney Frank?

BT

October 30th, 2012
11:20 am

It is not about private vs public education, it is the shape of our society!! The wheels are not off yet but the are wobbling brother!!

Another comment

October 30th, 2012
11:21 am

@phill in Athens ex-mother-in law and brother in law grew up in one of East Cobb’s finest Golf country Club Subdivision. Just check with some one in the JV system in Cobb they get as many kids come initially in out of the rich East Cobb households.

Another comment

October 30th, 2012
11:22 am

@phil you are obviously a closet case!

Westminster Insider

October 30th, 2012
11:40 am

Westminster has been protecting and promoting all types of bullies and bullying behavior for decades and I have personally witnessed it for the last 7 years. Reports to administration are frowned upon. Even some teachers bully each other and students.

When you look into it further you will find that Westminster kids bully non-Westminister kids on a regular basis.

There is a big difference bwtween:

—–thinking and believing your school is great(That is school pride) and that it is better than all other schools

And

—–thinking and believing that YOU are great and better than all other kids.

Westminster and their parents teach kids that they are better than all the other kids in Atlanta and that they deserve better. Their kids don’t have to follow silly little rules outside of school about things like deadlines, waiting in lines, speeding, cheating, drinking, drugs, civility and sincerity. Oh they can put on a show and yes ma’am and no sir you to death, but just watch them when they get together and you will be stunned. Something as simple as hanging out at the yogurt joint by OK Cafe turns into a group of mini-thugs who don’t even see the other people around them, unless, of course, they are Westminster students. Parents and teachers are the first to tell you that little Bobby gave his old toys to charity or little Sally helped a lady with her bags, but that does not make a bit of difference to the people they act like entitled snobs to.

Now, I know many will be upset by my posting but think bout this. If a kid does not have to follow simple, silly rules (and quite often the rules are silly)in primary or middle school because parents laugh at the rules, then why would that kid follow rules about drinking, cheating, speeding or sexual assaults a few years later. We are supposed to teach kids that we are all created equal. And we teach them to follow little silly rules so that they follow bigger more serious rules when they get older.

I’ll bet the family lawyers are gearing up. I know my dad would have been gearing up already. BTW, I attended Westminster for 12 years and love most everything about it but the entitlement expectations is dangerous and it severely limits our potemtially wonderful kids.

I’ll bet you that the students involved in this latest incident are very accustomed to their parents sticking up for them since first grade instead of letting them learn a lesson.

When those kids protested the searching of lockers for drugs, that should have been a wake up call for parents. They are children. They are doing drugs. They can protest when they are in college. Right now, they should not be doing drugs.

If parents knew what their passiveness did to their kids, they would change their behavior.

GT Alumna

October 30th, 2012
12:03 pm

This ought to make your hair stand on end. I used to be a compliance officer. That means I actually give a rats rear end about following protocol. So, while signing up to help out at my kid’s Cobb elementary school, I asked the question about vetting of parents. I assumed that we would need to provide some information, similar to what they get from teachers. Nope. Nada. They were actually irritated that I would ask a question like that in front of a room full of approximately 40 parent volunteers. I explained that I wanted to ensure my kid’s safety, particularly against a pervert, and I didn’t know all these people and neither did the school staff. The lady doing the presentation looked at me with what can only be described as a horrified look and exclaimed, “But these are all parents. They wouldn’t do that!” I’m not kidding. So… I’ve been volunteering in my daughter’s classroom ever since. At least that way I know my kid is taken care of.

In brief, we’re worried about teachers and staff. We need to also be worried about the many parents that go into schools every day. School administrators do not manage this tightly. I’m not saying people can’t volunteer; I am saying that somebody should at least do a cursory look at each volunteer that has regular interactions with the kids. It only takes one incident to submarine a good program.

Phil from Athens

October 30th, 2012
12:37 pm

“you are obviously a closet case!”

You must be under the false impression that I care what you think.

Another comment

October 30th, 2012
4:03 pm

@ GT Alumna, you are so right about Cobb County doing no Parent back ground search, on volunteers. I think that they are really scared that they will be labled as something. But I can guarantee that alot of folks can’t come up clean in East Cobb to pass a back ground check. My ex, grew up in East Cobb, and can just sit and name off the people who he went to school with a combination of public and private that have criminal records. He grew up in the East Cobb Country Club Neighbor Hood. in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Their Classmates and neighbors included a major media moguls children; pilots children, doctors childrens, lawyers children, all sorts of business executives.

My Children went to Catholic School after going to public school in Cobb. At the Catholic School to volunteer you had to under go training and have a background check. You also could not just drop in and have lunch with your child, unless you had under gone a background check. My ex-husband did not understand why he could not just drop by, and have lunch like he could in Cobb County. I said first of all, they do not encourage anyone to drop by and have lunch. Second, that you must have a back ground check to go anywhere the children are. He thought I was singling him out, but it was the rules.

A retired administrator’s son told me that at a “good” school in Fulton Co. they had caught a Hispanic kid in middle school over 30 times with drugs. When the father came in, he just laughe at them, it was obvious he was a gangsta drug dealer, the kid was just the mule. So they stopped calling the father in, they didn’t want him in. They had the kid, sitting in the office most of the year. Fulton, wouldn’t let them kick him out, because he was too young. The father knew this. This was at a Charter that requires 100% volunteer participation. You really don’t want 100% with parents like this.

KIM

October 30th, 2012
5:46 pm

Our society is one sick mess. The fact that these are educators is horrific BUT look around you. There are sick, really sick people in every walk of life. They are fathers, mothers, coaches, pastors, doctors, data entry people, they are US…the society that allows exposure to pornography at a whim…and from an early age. There is no filter on what TV allows, certainly none on what the Internet allows. What do we expect from a world that is so valueless? And to the Westminster person…you have an ax to grind. Grind it elsewhere.

Trolls Bane

October 30th, 2012
6:03 pm

Its very sad and troublesome to be a man in today’s America. A man is automatically assumed to be a pedophile, rapist, abusive, etc..

As a man, and given todays environment, I would NEVER, EVER allow myself to be alone with anyone’s children at ANY time … all interaction would either be in public view or with other adults present …

Westminster Alum

October 31st, 2012
9:23 am

@WestminsterInsider

If you went to Westminster, you would have better grammar. Try again.

I am an alum. Of course we were proud and think we went to the best school around. How does that make us bullies? It might make us cocky until we grow up, get our ass whipped and learn better, but that doesn’t equal bullying.

Anotther comment

October 31st, 2012
9:28 am

@kim wow you have a problem that the Westminister insider speaks the truth. My child works at one of the hang outs of the Westminster kids. I saw to Westminister Gil’s, fretting over their college applications. I politetly asked the broad shouldered blonde where she was applying. She told me she really wanted to go to Univ. of Washington in St. Louis. When I told her that they had been actively recruiting my very petite blonde behind the counter who had a 3.92 gpa in Public school. It was like the color washed out of her face. Some how Miss Muffy with Dad’s genes thought it was an elite school that only her type could get into.

I went on to bust her bubble some more by telling her that I had classmates from several undergraduate school who attended for graduate school. Shock upon the poor girls face, I was not wearing tennis attire or pearls. She had not seen me on the County Club circuit.

AnonMom

October 31st, 2012
9:42 am

A few thoughts… first: innocent until proven guilty… I see distinctions between buying videos and making videos and between assaulting a teammate with an object … I think there’s also a distinction that can be drawn in the facts depending on the actual content of the videos if we knew what it is… are the videos of young girls (e.g. under 12 or 13) or teens? Young teens or older teens? Keep in mind that prostitution is the oldest profession known to man… Pompeii has ‘ads” that date to 77 AD of prices and services available on the walls of a certain shop that was uncovered there (it looks quite uncomfortable)… I’ve posted before about my thoughts about how I think we do our teens a true disservice by treating them as children rather than as adults (cp to other parts of the world or other times during history). Is this another case where teens were paid well to do something they were doing voluntarily (keep in mind that adult harmonies kick in during early to mid teens) or is this a case of young girls exploited? I don’t know. Should it be prosecuted with jail time with murderers and rapists when how ever many were caught in the sting purchased the end d product? Not sure that’s appropriate either — (I feel differently about the taping in the bathrooms of innocent kids and of the assault and battery). The folks exporting the DVDs should be shut down-with the cooperation of the Canadiens — and there should be some investigation into the parents who let the girls and/or boys “participate” in the shooting of the videos — but we need to know how “voluntary” their participation was in making them (again I don’t know their ages… there’s a difference between 5 or 8 and 15 or 17) — Also, 1 video purchase may be different from the 10 or 15 videos purchased and a video purchase doesn’t necessarily make one a bad teacher, doctor, coach or priest…. again, some of this behavior goes back 4000 years … if one hasn’t ever “acted” on the behavior (again, different from videos being taken or assaults). Is this “Big Brother?”

All I'm Saying Is....

October 31st, 2012
3:19 pm

AnonMom: You are not familiar with what has been reported. In the Padeia case: “Headmaster Paul Bianchi wrote that Josh Ensley, a janitor for Paideia for 17 years, was arrested after he received illegal materials through the mail.” Unless identify theft occurred, the knucklehead must have ordered the materials in order to have received them by name. Furthermore, the idiot, when questioned, went on to assert that he illegally recorded people—in this case kids—by stating he had placed cameras in the kids bathrooms at school. So not sure where ‘innocent until proven guilty’ holds up. In the Pace case, the fired teacher reportedly ordered illicit material through the mail and had it on their home computer. So, unless the fired teacher did not order the material (which is how their name got on the child porn customer list) and/or they are claiming it wasn’t their computer, then how are they innocent?

As for Westminster, the school has been around 50+ years and currently has over 700 students annually in its high school alone and, as far as has been shared, this is the first instance something like this has ever happened. It is still awful but appears to be an isolated incident. And the school reported the information when it first came to light so the administrators didn’t attempt to bury anything. Plus the 17-years old alleged perp has been arrested (his picture is on the updated AJ/C story now – dark haired Caucasian kid, for those interested) so I don’t blame the school one iota.

As for bullying, sadly it happens at all schools public and private so let’s all continue to work on eliminating it and not waste time rehashing the private vs. public school debate.

In terms of private school kids and/or their parents thinking they are ‘God’s gift’, you are all correct in terms of that happening. By the way, plenty of folks like that exist in public school’s too so no entity has a monopoly on bad behavior. Again, why waste time debating the point. Rude, insolent folks and/or ’snooty, holier than thou’ types are pervasive in society and our schools are no different.

Finally, if you can afford it and it is appropriate for your kid, then choose an alternative to Georgia’s public schools which are sub-par when compared to other public schools nationally (aren’t we around 48th or 49th in the USA?).