BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A public conversation was held Wednesday at the Brighton High School auditorium after physics teacher Louis Carusone was arrested last week. Carusone is charged with allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography.
Parents had the chance to speak to the superintendent directly, and the Bivona Child Advocacy Center was also there to provide support.
Parents asked if there were any red flags and what the hiring practices were like. In short, the Superintendent, Dr. Kevin McGown, said there were no red flags and the hiring process at the time did not show anything.
McGowan said to the audience he’s speaking not just as an educator, but as a father and community member.
“The most important thing we do each and every day is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the children who are entrusted to our care,” he said.
He says in this matter, Carusone, accused of possessing child pornography, violated that trust. “We’re horrified, we’re upset, we’re angry, we’re angry with what happened,” he said.
To be clear, as the investigation stands now, the 2000-plus photos and 21 pornographic videos Carusone is accused of having do not show Brighton students.
“We recognize that these were acts that happened outside of school largely and don’t involve our students– but the reality is, it does.”
However, investigators did say there are 11 videos showing students in classrooms– clothed– and children at a waterpark in bathing suits. All students involved have been notified.
“A terrible invasion of trust and privacy as well,” said McGowan.
Daniele Lyman-Torres with Bivona Child Advocacy Center, says they’re working with students and parents here, and says the breaking of trust and abuse isn’t limited to these hallways. If any abuse happens, she asks parents to be alert.
“Be willing to sit down and have a conversation about why they might not be at baseline. And really, we can help you,” said Lyman-Torres.
McGown says Carusone is now on ‘unpaid assignment’, a bit of a legal term. However, he did state that Carusone will not be returning to the school district in any capacity.
When someone asked about Carusone possibly having a mental illness, McGowan responded, “I personally do not have an ounce of compassion or empathy for that person.”
If convicted, Carusone could face up to 5 to 20 years behind bars. Carusone first worked for Brighton Schools in 2001, then moved to other districts like Rush-Henrietta and East Irondequoit. He rejoined Brighton in 2015.