405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Former Educators Charged for Sexually Explicit Texts about Students

23-Feb-2015

A former school principal and two former teachers have been charged with crimes for text messages they sent to each other. Investigators say the men exchanged text messages that described certain students in a sexual manner. The men are each charged in Woodward County with a single misdemeanor count of making obscene statements by electronic communication. Two of the men have already pleaded no contest; the third man's case is still pending.

Charged are three educators who worked at Sharon-Mutual High School and who resigned in 2013 after the allegations came to light:

  • Chris Syms, 37, who was the school's principal and football coach
  • Reece Lujan, 36, who was an art teacher, boys' basketball coach, and softball coach
  • Kevin Krows, 27, who was a teacher and girls' basketball coach

After charges were filed earlier this month, Syms and Lujan pleaded nolo contendere, or no contest. A "no contest" plea is not an admission of guilt, but it acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence for a jury to reach a conclusion of guilt if the case went to trial. For the purposes of sentencing, a no contest plea functions as a guilty plea. Syms and Lujan were each given a 10-year deferred sentence, which will allow them to avoid jail and criminal conviction. 

In a deferred sentence, the defendant is allowed to serve probation instead of jail. If he or she adheres to all of the conditions of probation, upon completion of the deferred sentence, the court records are updated to reflect a plea of "not guilty" and the case is dismissed. If the defendant violates probation, the prosecutor may file a motion to accelerate sentencing. If granted, the probation is revoked, the defendant is convicted, and he or she will likely be sentenced to jail or prison. 

As of this writing, Krows has neither pleaded guilty nor no contest. His case is pending.

Please note, the charges against the men do not reflect that they made lewd statements to students, but rather about them. This is one of those cases where it sounds like the men's actions made people angry and the district attorney's office drummed up whatever charges they could. 

The law under which the men were charged seems intended to prohibit obscene prank phone calls, but these men were not threatening or harassing others--merely making lewd observations among themselves.The Oklahoma law on obscenity, threats, or harassment by telephone or other electronic communication is found in 21 O.S. § 1172:

A. It shall be unlawful for a person who, by means of a telecommunication or other electronic communication device, willfully either: 

  1. Makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent; 
  2. Makes a telecommunication or other electronic communication with intent to terrify, intimidate or harass, or threaten to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or property of that person; 
  3. Makes a telecommunication or other electronic communication, whether or not conversation ensues, with intent to put the party called in fear of physical harm or death; 
  4. Makes a telecommunication or other electronic communication, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing the identity of the person making the call or communication and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number; 
  5. Knowingly permits any telecommunication or other electronic communication under the control of the person to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section; and  
  6. In conspiracy or concerted action with other persons, makes repeated calls or electronic communications or simultaneous calls or electronic communications solely to harass any person at the called number(s).

Every item in the above statute deals with the intended harassment of the recipient of the phone call; however, this law was used to prosecute men who were engaged in mutual conversation about people who were presumably never to find out about this objectification and therefore could not be threatened or harassed by the conversation. While their alleged acts were unprofessional and against public morals, it seems a bit of a stretch to call them criminal.



All News

More News

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter
19-Jun-2017

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own..

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrantless Cell Phone Location Search Violates Fourth Amendment
12-Jun-2017

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that cou..

Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Stabbing Death of Roommate
09-Jun-2017

A 72-year-old man is ordered to spend four years in prison after s..

Trial Delayed for Second Brother in Broken Arrow Quintuple Murder
29-May-2017

Shortly before midnight on July 22, 2015, police in Broken Arrow r..

Criminal Appeals Court Upholds Death Sentence for Triple-Murderer
26-May-2017

For the second time, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has af..

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Man Exonerated in Rape Case Awarded Compensation
15-May-2017

An Oklahoma man who was exonerated of rape after spending 13 years..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

×