New details in child porn trial of former middle school teacher Jeremiah Hunter

Jeremiah Hunter following his arrest in February.
Arrested: Jeremiah Hunter
Arrested: Jeremiah Hunter

News 5’s Emily DeVoe was in the courtroom Thursday as the federal case against former Hankins Middle School “Teacher of the Year” Jeremiah Hunter continued.

Hunter is charged with receiving child pornography and was arrested back in February.

He was also facing charges in district court for stalking a student and tampering with evidence after he allegedly had a friend remove a backpack from his classroom following his arrest but those charges have been dropped at the request of the state.

An FBI expert testified in March that through a forensic search of Hunter’s computer, she found messages that indicated something inappropriate was going on. She discovered Google searches for terms like “Mobile Alabama Gay Boys” and “Virgin Boys.”

He also searched for methods to send text messages anonymously, looking for apps that would mask his identity.

Hunter moved just seven houses away from the student he’s accused of stalking and had a photo of him on his night stand and set his phone password to the student’s birth date.

Today, more details are being released in federal court relating to the pornographic messages.

The inappropriate”sexting” messages involved as many as 9 students who sent nude photos to each other and to Hunter.

Hunter testified today that the messages were a misunderstanding. For more potentially disturbing details on the texts, click here for a News 5 article from March detailing the texts.

DeVoe reports that Hunter also said his words were misinterpreted.

Hunter texted “I wanna see” and now says that meant he wanted to see if students were really sending nude photos.

The prosecution interprets that “I wanna see” text message as solicitation.

He apparently did comment on at least one of the nude photos he was shown, saying “LOL he’s small.” Hunter testified that he was trying to be funny/

As for when he initially discovered students were sending him nude photos, he says he didn’t report it because it was so common. Instead, he talked to the cheerleading team he coached and told them sexting was dangerous.

“Hunter says sexting was so common at Hankins that if he started reporting everything, he’d spend most of the time in his office,” DeVoe reported.

At the March hearing, Michelle Barousse, a fellow teacher at Hankins, testified that she heard Hunter talking about “things students do” that made her “uncomfortable.” She said she excused herself from the conversation because of its nature.

Hunter could face 20 years in prison if convicted in federal court on the child pornography charges.

News 5 will have more on Hunter’s testimony tonight at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

For updates via social media, follow Emily DeVoe @WKRG_Emily on Twitter.

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