School board upholds firing

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Nude pictures of Pamela Anderson left a Richmond County school police officer without a job.

After less than three minutes of deliberation, the school board voted to uphold the firing of Officer Rolf Cramer on Monday after a hearing to appeal his termination.

The school board officer of six years was accused of viewing nude and pornographic images on his work computer in the middle of a January school day.

But Officer Cramer contended the images could have been downloaded on his computer by anyone with access to his Spirit Creek Middle School office. He also said no one could have seen the images on the computer screen through his closed blinds and he is never in the office during the time in question.

His testimony and the testimony of Principal Sharon McAlevy, however, couldn't sway board members who also heard from Tim Parker, assistant principal of A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School.

Mr. Parker, who investigated the allegations for the school board's internal affairs office, conducted a forensic investigation of Officer Cramer's computer hard drive and found "rather graphic" images had been downloaded.

The forensic investigation of the hard drive uncovered time-stamped pictures that were downloaded during lunch on Jan. 24, Mr. Parker said. It also revealed that after less risque photos of Pamela Anderson were downloaded, the computer's security feature was disabled to allow fully nude photos to be downloaded.

The officer, though, said he isn't computer savvy and wouldn't risk his future or the future of his daughter.

"I'm a single parent of a 10-year-old daughter, and I would never do anything to jeopardize my ability to support her, since I'm the only thing she has here," Officer Cramer told the board.

In November, the board reversed an administration decision to discipline the officer for his reaction to a school custodian pulling what he thought was a handgun on him. It turned out to be a BB gun.

The initial discipline came before the investigation was complete.

Officer Cramer complained that his March termination also came before the investigation was completed.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 05/01/07 - 06:35 am
0
0
The article doesn't say, but

The article doesn't say, but if no one else had access to Mr Cramers computer then his guilt would be pretty obvious. If, however, his office was not locked or his computer otherwise secure, then there should be no way to prove who down loaded the pictures. It would be a shame if he lost his job because of suspicion or because someone else just wanted to get rid of him.

Edgefield
0
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Edgefield 05/01/07 - 07:36 am
0
0
I have seen things like this

I have seen things like this before. He needs a good lawyer and a good Computer forensic investigator. 15 min on a computer and any thing can happen to "prove" anything

Unbelievable
84
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Unbelievable 05/01/07 - 07:38 am
0
0
I work in the computer

I work in the computer industry and I am not sure how you perform a 'forensic investigation' on a computer. If he was 'slick' enough to 'disable' a security setting on his PC, then I am sure he would have been able to clear his internet cache. Of course if the school really had any security at all, he wouldnt have been able to view the material in the first place. Why would a BOE Officer even have administrative rights on his office PC? I wouuld also imagine that around lunch the officer would be near the lunchroom, seeing as that is where a lot of fights\incidents happen. Seems like someone is getting railroaded.

CATLOVER
0
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CATLOVER 05/01/07 - 08:01 am
0
0
what is happening to people

what is happening to people in this world? is everyone sick in the head or what? the computer is going to be the downfall of this nation, and that might be absurd to some of you know it alls, but just sit back and look at all the garbage,id thefts,embezzlement,porn-you name it. it doesn't take a genius to figure this one out. and the kids in school are getting short changed of their education--think about it!

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 05/01/07 - 08:01 am
0
0
It seems to me the problem

It seems to me the problem might be he did not log off his computer when he left the office. This might be a good reminder to all of us to log off when we leave a workstation, and use a good password that we change frequently. This would prevent someone from coming into the office and downloading " less risque photos of Pamela Anderson" and realizing they need to do more damage. I also agree that no one but IT technicians should have "administrative rights" and all security changes should be restricted to those that are trained and have administrative rights. It may be that this officer is the victim of a set up, but he is probably better moving on, and having a lawyer clear his name. If he is guilty, he really "did no harm", but I agree (if guilty) dismissal from the school board was proper. Good luck Mr.Cramer, I am sure there are other law enforcement agencies that will hire you, and give you a chance to start over without RCBOE. I also hope that your daughter understands that you are doing your best for her.

GuyIncognito
1
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GuyIncognito 05/01/07 - 08:09 am
0
0
This guy must have upset

This guy must have upset someone in the school administration. This happens all the time, they can use facts to prove anything!

Casting_Fool
1119
Points
Casting_Fool 05/01/07 - 08:12 am
0
0
Having had my son railroaded

Having had my son railroaded by the RCBE for supposedly making a bomb threat, I would doubt anything they say is fact until the proper authorities examine the computer.

How can a RCBE employee do a "forensic investigation"? Especially an "assistant principal" in the very school system prosecuting the guy? A qualified, independent third party should have been used.

Oh wait, that's right. Since their own "expert" examined the computer, it is no longer admissible as evidence. It's considered as having been "tampered" with.

Less than three minutes to destroy a man's life and the life of his daughter. Thank God that my son is no longer in the RC school system!

(My son was proved innocent. The bullies making the false accusations were never punished.).

Honden
2
Points
Honden 05/01/07 - 08:17 am
0
0
It sounds like this "so

It sounds like this "so called" forensics expert knows less than he/she wants others to believe.

PFLY775
2
Points
PFLY775 05/01/07 - 08:44 am
0
0
We need to recognize that

We need to recognize that porn is a huge problem for men these days. It has been called the "crack cocaine" of the internet but the addiction to it is not being taken seriously. This man clearly has an addiction. His brain did not process that he would lose his job, but it did process the high that he would receive from viewing the photos. This addiction needs to be addressed by professionals in the CSRA and all over the country and men (and some women) need to seek help. It is apparent that lives are being ruined; just ask the guy's wife or significant other, not to mention his child. He still hasn't faced his addiction because he is still making excuses for his inappropriate behavior.

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 05/01/07 - 08:52 am
0
0
Maybe the Chronicle should

Maybe the Chronicle should post the pictures so that we may decide if they are offensive or not....jk. On a serious note, I deal with similar issues on a daily basis. Users get up from their desk, go to the restroom or to get coffee, and dont lock their PCs. Then someone sends an email out under their login. We block 'offensive' material and do internet use tracking, this eliminates a large portion of Porn surfers.

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 05/01/07 - 08:56 am
0
0
So 'coalminer' are you saying

So 'coalminer' are you saying that only men browse porn? That seems to be a very stereotypical statement. How would you feel if it comes out that a student went into his office during lunch and did the browsing? I am sure you wouldnt apologize for your ridiculous statement above. And many adult sites use redirection so that when you mis-type your destination address, it redirects you to a porn site.

PFLY775
2
Points
PFLY775 05/01/07 - 08:59 am
0
0
Unbelievable, read my

Unbelievable, read my statement again and see the words " and some women".

Concerned Teach
0
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Concerned Teach 05/01/07 - 09:08 am
0
0
Just for the record, just

Just for the record, just "clearing cache" on your computer, or deleting files on your computer does not actually remove the data from your computer. When you "delete" a file on your computer, the operating system makes a directory entry to the file system only "marking" that area of the disk to be re-used. If the data on your computer that you deleted, and was only marked as deleted hasn't been overwritten with new data, the data of the deleted file can be recovered..

getalife
4
Points
getalife 05/01/07 - 09:17 am
0
0
I don't have a lot of

I don't have a lot of confidence in this investigation process or the person doing the investigation. I think the process should have been handled by an outside investigator. It sounds as if someone may have it in for this person!!

september 5th
1
Points
september 5th 05/01/07 - 09:18 am
0
0
guilty guilty guilty...maybe

guilty guilty guilty...maybe the school board should get rid of the internet or do like most companies and only allow certain sites...mr cramer needs to come straight and maybe the board would have disciplined him instead of terminating him...even the augusta chronicle has inappropriate pictures of females on some of the paid advertisements..sex sells and it is everywhere!

Rose
17
Points
Rose 05/01/07 - 09:45 am
0
0
Anyone here tried to post a

Anyone here tried to post a comment on Rant and Raves this morning?

Concerned Teach
0
Points
Concerned Teach 05/01/07 - 11:01 am
0
0
RCBOE does use software to

RCBOE does use software to block inapproiate sites. But you cannot block all of them. Some Slip through the cracks. Not to metion there are a number of other sources to input data on a computer.. Not just the internet..

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 05/01/07 - 11:08 am
0
0
A third party investigator

A third party investigator would have been appropriate. Then, no bias toward either the school or the officer could be argued. I think he got the shaft, whether he did it or not.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 05/01/07 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Follow-up on comments from

Follow-up on comments from "unbelievable" and some others: I'm a network admin, and I also have some specific knowledge about how both Columbia and Richmond County BOE computers are managed. They are all just begging for a lawsuit, if the employee has an attorney who can find his way to the courthouse. Their "security" is machine-based, meaning that each individual computer has an account associated with it. The appropriate thing to do is make security account-based, and make each user responsible for his or her account. That way, if someone logs in with "johnsmith@rcboe.edu" or whatever, it doesn't matter which computer was used. The account is associated with me, the user. As things stand now, if a student/employee/staffer/teacher/whoever is going to use the computer in a classroom or office, they log on as, say, "Lakeside RM 103" (I don't pretend to remember the actual naming conventions). That means that, once that person knows the password for that workstation, they either have free rein to use it within the parameters set for that machine, or the "official" user of that machine has to change the pw, which they are not allowed to do. wrong wrong wrong

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 05/01/07 - 12:38 pm
0
0
I think that the person that

I think that the person that did the forensic investigation probably just checked the cached internet information. Not that clearing that would make it 'unrecoverable', after reading JohnSmiths post, it seems that the officer has a pretty good lawsuit on his hands for wrongful termination. Especially if the pc log show 'office 101' as the "user" that had the information. The fact that he was let go, before the investigation, and that it was not done by a 3rd party is also suspsicous. Active Directory and Group policies can resolve a lot of those issues. That is sad that the RCBOE cant get their stuff together.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 05/01/07 - 01:32 pm
0
0
If a Forensic Investigation

If a Forensic Investigation was actually done on that computer, it would take more than a mere 15 minutes and would require the services of a specially trained individual. The way the article read, I felt that perhaps the assistant principal found a way to get rid of an employee that he dislikes. No worker in a government operated facility has the necessary information to over-ride the security programming on their computers; IT personnel and a few key management personnel [as in principal and assistant principal] have access to that information. I think this officer needs an attorney and he should sue for the improper investigation, slander, and whatever other charges his lawyer deems appropriate. Luck to you Officer Cramer.

a2
1
Points
a2 05/01/07 - 03:05 pm
0
0
He said no one could see

He said no one could see images through the closed blinds in his ofc. That's an odd comment to make. Did he ever say no I didn't do it?

PFLY775
2
Points
PFLY775 05/01/07 - 03:22 pm
0
0
I agree, A2, work is not the

I agree, A2, work is not the place to view such things even if the blinds are closed. That shows lack of self control and lack of good judgement. The computer was in his office. Do students have access to his office and to his computer? Does the time that the pictures were viewed coinside with the time he was on the job?

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 05/01/07 - 04:43 pm
0
0
All of this is coming from a

All of this is coming from a Board who hired Charles Larke! What else should we expect. "Reject the best and expect the rest!" BOE shouldn't have their own police force in the first place. They are there to cover up for the board. If the custodian had pulled a gun on a RCSO deputy, he'd have been shot! Who cares if it was a BB gun. In this day and age one cannot hesitate to act.

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 05/01/07 - 05:06 pm
0
0
"I'm a single parent of a

"I'm a single parent of a 10-year-old daughter, and I would never do anything to jeopardize my ability to support her, since I'm the only thing she has here," Officer Cramer told the board."
I dont think the person that did the search was qualified, and in a good system, you can block these sites, and you can see who and when they were downloaded. If all else fails, disable the internet. Especially in areas where the systems cannot be seen. Behind blinds or bookcases. If students are researching something they can do it in the media center in the open. If there is a PC in the classroom, they can use it when all the pupils are in, not when they are alone. Simple enough.

behonest1
2
Points
behonest1 05/01/07 - 11:22 pm
0
0
If I were this police

If I were this police officer, I would hire a lawyer and sue the school district. There is no way that the SB can prove he did this. His office is open, and likely no passwords are needed. What I wonder is why is the SB intrested in his computer? Was this a witch hunt? Why was Parker so interested in this computer, and who told Parker these images were on the computer? I think Parker should disclose why he looked for these images and who informed him that the officer has these images on the computer, something does not smell right. And when does misuse of a computer erase six years of good public service, even if the officer was wrong the sentence does not fit the crime. The school board needs to worry more about the kids, and stop playing games.

sassytree
1
Points
sassytree 05/01/07 - 11:33 pm
0
0
Why did the RCBOE have

Why did the RCBOE have suspicion enough to take his computer in the first place? And they found that he supposedly went to this website on just one day? I think he is being retaliated against because he embarassed the Chief when he won his appeal before. This is the standard way RCBOE works..... no morals! Get a lawyer, buddy!

blaqbird07
4
Points
blaqbird07 05/02/07 - 01:35 am
0
0
Officer Cramer....I am a

Officer Cramer....I am a former BOE officer I would not appeal. You worked for an idiot chief. The captain is an idiot. The department is not respected by other agencies. Move on with your life. If the chief had your back she could have blocked all of this. She does not respect her officers nor does she know how to run the department.There are some good officers working for BOE. RUN WHILE YOU CAN.....Nobody knows what you go thru.....They do not care.....Cramer if you did it....Step up and accept your punishment. If you didnt.....Pray for a better day. But you will NEVER be respected again in any school. Time for a change!

keysplease
4
Points
keysplease 05/02/07 - 06:45 am
0
0
The so-called security in RC

The so-called security in RC schools consists of one password per school! Each school is assigned a password that you can use to log onto any computer on that particular campus. I used to teach middle school and the only people that know how to go around the Websense blocks on the computer are the students. Most of them know the places on the internet where they learn how to get around most blocks. I had to monitor students very closely to avoid an incident like this from happening in my class. Now that I teach high school, I don't even let them use the computer in class; they have to go to the lab or the media center just to protect myself. I don't see how anybody can be guilty of having illegal stuff on their computer unless RC assigns a password to each individual account!

Honden
2
Points
Honden 05/02/07 - 11:21 am
0
0
Effective Computer "Tech

Effective Computer "Tech support" often includes the question " Is there a teen present"? and If so..." Put them on the phone please" . It may sound like a joke, but It's not. I've done it myself on occasion when speaking to someone that could not seem to grasp the solution(s) to the problem(s). These kids aren't stupid. and IF I were a teen..AND I knew there was a computer with a broadband connection that I could use without supervision during my free lunch period...guess what? ( hint..a little soft pron would be minor )

Disabling security features is child's play on a network run as reckless as those described in Columbia and Richmond counties.

The REAL problem lies in the actual cost to maintain a large network properly. A quality IT staff doesn't come cheap.

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