Ex-Brighton choir teacher charged with soliciting student

KSL.com – http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=21733122
By: Pat Reavy

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A former Brighton High School teacher has been charged with soliciting a student and attempting to view pornography at school.

Steven Richard Smith, 39, was charged Thursday in Holladay Justice Court with electronic communication harassment, attempting to access pornography on school property and sexual solicitation, all class B misdemeanors.

Smith was a music and choir teacher at Brighton. An 18-year-old male student, a senior, “was offered opportunities via text in exchange for a sexual act,” Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo said.

Smith resigned immediately after being interviewed by detectives and the school, the chief said. Russo did not expand on what “opportunities” were offered.

The teacher resigned on Feb. 15, according to the Canyons School District. Police say the alleged crimes happened between March 1, 2011, and Feb. 22, 2012.

“Police were contacted by an unnamed person who reported that inappropriate communication had occurred between Smith and a student.”
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 12 in Holladay Justice Court.

A charge of sexual solicitation involves a defendant who “paid or offered to pay or agreed to pay another person a fee for the purpose of engaging in an act of sexual activity.”

Police were contacted by an unnamed person who reported that inappropriate communication had occurred between Smith and a student. Detectives contacted school administrators, who turned over the man’s laptop, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young.

Pornography was found on the computer, he said. The porn was not of the alleged victim, but rather adult porn that would otherwise be legal if not for detectives alleging that it was viewed on a school computer and possibly on school property, according to the sergeant.

The teacher’s cellphone was also seized and inappropriate texts were found, Young said.

Smith was hired by the district on Dec. 21, 1999, and spent his entire time teaching at Brighton.

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