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Live stream meeting led to secret peeping arrest of Jacksonville teacher

Live stream meeting led to secret peeping arrest of Jacksonville teacher
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 11:56 AM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 3:41 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - There are more troubling details about an Eastern Carolina teacher who police said was secretly recording students in his classroom.

This as school officials say Stephen Bera showed up at another campus this week, even though they told him to stay away from their schools.

Bera was charged last month by Jacksonville police with 10 counts of using or installing a photographic image and 10 counts of possessing photographic images from peeping.

Police said they found a hidden camera inside his New Bridge Middle School classroom where he taught language arts.

According to documents obtained by WITN News, police learned of the hidden camera when on the evening of April 28th, Bera was on a Microsoft Teams classroom session with two students and their guardians.

The document says people in the virtual meeting observed Bera “unbuckling his belt and unzipping his pants” after he projected explicit videos of young girls in his class. It says the teacher was then seen in what appeared to be engaged in a “self-pleasing activity”.

Apparently, Bera didn’t realize his laptop camera was live and that other people could see what he was doing at this time.

The activity was reported by the school’s principal to the school system’s chief technical officer who then remotely logged in to Bera’s school-issued laptop and got a copy of the live-streamed Teams meeting, which he gave to the police.

When he was arrested, police would only say the videos they seized showed students in various stages of undress. Sources have told WITN News that the girls were using Bera’s classroom to change clothes for a school activity when the hidden camera captured them.

The document said the videos showed “up-skirt undergarments of minor juvenile students” as well as videos of female students undressing in his classroom.

Bera resigned his teaching position after his arrest and was released on a $38,000 bond.

On Monday, the former teacher showed up to an event at Jacksonville High School. The school system says Bera was immediately asked to leave the campus.

A school district spokesman said after his arrest and resignation last month, Bera was told not to be on any Onslow County Schools campus. Bera told school officials his understanding of that conversation was different from what was intended, and since then the school system has given him a letter explaining the restrictions, which was hand-delivered by a Jacksonville police officer.

Last month, police said there was nothing to indicate the teacher had any physical contact with any of the children.

WITN spoke with Vanessa Mullen, the grandmother of a student at New Bridge Middle School, to get her reaction about the new information.

“Who’s gonna look out for them and tell them it’s safe, if this man can walk and just get a slap on the hand? Because he’s supposed to know better,” Mullen said.

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