A Lenape High School teacher charged with taking inappropriate videos and photographs of students was released from jail Thursday and placed on house arrest with strict conditions.

Eric Howell, 43, of Dogwood Court in Maple Shade, was charged with official misconduct and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child and invasion of privacy for allegedly taking upskirt images of female students in his classroom and the Medford school’s hallways.

Howell also taught as an adjunct professor at Rowan College at Burlington County in Mount Laurel from the summer of 2016 until the end of the spring term in May, RCBC spokesman Greg Volpe confirmed Thursday.

“We have no indication this was occurring on our campus,” Volpe said, adding that the college contacted investigators to inform them that Howell had worked there.

Howell could face additional charges as video surveillance footage from the high school and other evidence are still being reviewed as part of the investigation, officials said.

In addition to allegedly taking upskirt images or video of three students and of an individual at a convenience store, Howell is believed to have taken inappropriate images of as many as 40 students, officials said.

At Howell’s first appearance Thursday at the Burlington County Courthouse in Mount Holly via video feed from the county jail, Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines ordered that he be released with multiple conditions aimed at protecting the public, including being placed on house arrest.

Howell also must wear an electronic monitor, have no access to electronic equipment, have no contact with minors or any school, and not use a motor vehicle.

Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Eife did not make a motion that Howell be detained, noting that he had the lowest possible score on a public safety assessment used by the state to determine if those charged with crimes are likely to commit more criminal activity or not appear in court. Eife said the state negotiated with Howell’s attorney, David Glassman, on the terms of release.

The charges will be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment. If convicted of the second-degree charges, Howell faces up to 10 years in prison.

Howell, who has taught chemistry in the Lenape district since 2016, allegedly concealed a camera in a coconut water box that was then placed in the side portion of his briefcase. He would unscrew the cap of the box in his briefcase, walk in closely to female students, and carry his bag in a manner that allowed the camera to see up their skirts or loose-fitting shorts, authorities said.

His behavior was brought to the attention of the school administration on May 2 by an individual who observed him allegedly passing behind a student and trying to position the camera under her skirt. Eife said authorities confiscated numerous electronic devices from Howell after they were notified and he was suspended by the school.

The school district has limited its comment, but confirmed that Howell was banned from all school property and events once officials received the information about the incidents.

Eife told the judge Thursday that the state believes all of the electronic equipment has been confiscated and that there is no evidence that Howell shared or distributed any of the images.

“Why he was doing this, only Mr. Howell knows,” Eife said.

Glassman said his client is undergoing treatment at a behavioral health facility. As part of his release conditions, Howell was ordered to continue treatment and the state must be notified of any change.

Howell was also ordered not to use the internet, social media or any electronic equipment, including cellphones, and will have to report to court officials.

His wife, who was in court, is to supervise him, ensure that all of the conditions are followed, and drive him to meetings with his attorney, court proceedings and ongoing psychiatric treatment, Haines ruled.

Glassman told the judge his client, who has no previous criminal record, led an “exemplary life up until now.”

“We understand the heightened sense of concern,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is have Mr. Howell come back into court.”

Howell is next due in court on July 12. He has cooperated with the investigation, Eife said.

School officials, who have also cooperated with law enforcement, notified students and parents in a letter from Superintendent Carol Birnbohm.

Authorities allege that Howell targeted one of the three students on more than one occasion. The district contacted parents of students who were specifically affected earlier this month, according to Birnbohm.

 

Released for free (on tax payers dollars) without any accountability and  thanks to NJ Bail Reform.

 

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