Ex-NH teacher who sent graphic images put victim through 'hell I could have never anticipated'
NASHUA — A former Merrimack High School teacher who pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to two misdemeanors for sending explicit photos of himself to a 16-year-old female student and soliciting her to do the same will not serve any jail time.
Todd Wiley, 63, admitted to sending the photos back in October of 2016. Wiley must surrender his teaching license as part of the deal and must comply with treatment and counseling recommended by probation and parole. He faces 24 months in jail, all suspended for a period of three years.
Wiley was originally charged with felony criminal solicitation to the manufacturing of images of child abuse and four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. But because the victim was 16 and due to current New Hampshire laws, the prosecution would have to prove the "position of authority" statute in this case. In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, defense attorney Tony Sculimbrene said state law allows for a relationship between a 63-year-old and a 16-year-old, and in this case there was no element of coercion.
Wiley's victim spoke in court telling him it was hard for her to come to grips with words like "manipulation" and "victim" because their relationship had purely been philosophical, until he "turned their relationship in the one direction it should not have gone."
The victim said not only was she dealing with what happened, she had to deal bullying at school.
"Eight months ago, walking in the halls of Merrimack High School was a hell I never could have anticipated."
She says she still feels humiliated. The victim ended her statement saying, "I wish you knew how difficult it is to say these words to you, considering what a role model you were to me."
The victim's father also spoke saying his anger turned into embarrassment because Wiley couldn't be charged with more severe crimes.
"There are laws that create loopholes for scumbags and predators to avoid paying the penalty," he said.
Wiley addressed his victim saying he was truly sorry.
"My behavior during that time does not represent who I am as a person. In 64 years of life and 37 years of teaching, I behaved quite differently than I did in that week in October," Wiley read out loud.
Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn said she would have not accepted the plea deal if the victim had not supported it. Speaking directly to Wiley, Colburn agreed with the prosecution saying the images were reprehensible and disgusting.
"In those nine days you did a tremendous amount of damage to a young woman, her family, to a whole community," Colburn said.
Colburn also said the only way to fix the current statute is by legislative action.
She went on to say Wiley and his attorney have painted a picture that this crime is an anomaly. But, Colburn warned, the actions "came from somewhere," and recommended mental health treatment.
Judge Colburn reminded the victim, "none of this is your fault."
Commissioner for the department of Education, Frank Edelblut released a statement saying a top priority is making sure students are safe in the classroom. When incidents like this do occur, Edelblut ensures, "The Department of Education acts quickly and takes all appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our students while being mindful of the rights of our educators."