Accused Houston teacher appears in court

December 2, 2009 3:47:26 PM PST
A teacher trusted to educate students is now accused of spying on them when they used the bathroom. We learned the bathroom wasn't the only place investigators found a camera at the school. Craig McDonald, 59, went before a judge at the criminal courthouse first thing Wednesday morning to hear the charge against him. Investigators say they found two additional cameras inside McDonald's classroom at Yzaguirre School for Success in southeast Houston.

While prosecutors admit McDonald had permission from the school to use those devices to monitor students' behavior, they say McDonald took things too far.

With his teaching career on the line amid allegations he used a camera hidden inside a smoke detector to spy on his female students while they used the bathroom, McDonald left a local courtroom Wednesday morning with very little to say.

"Mr. McDonald, do you have anything to say at all?" we asked him.

McDonald responded, "No."

"Are you guilty of what they say you did?"

"I have nothing to say," he said.

At Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors described for the judge the elaborate steps they claim McDonald took to set a tiny pinhole camera. They say he wired it to the school's electrical grid system so he didn't have to replace the battery, while they say he used a monitor next to his desk to watch the students. It's unclear whether he recorded anything.

"There was a VCR that was in the classroom that had the plugs to do it. We also found some tapes of recordings from other cameras," said prosecutor Ric Devlin. "We're still reviewing information as to whether or not he made other recordings."

While the case against him appears to be mounting, McDonald's attorney, who wants to review the evidence himself, says it's important not to rush to any conclusions.

"There's two sides to every story and we'll begin investigating this case and looking at it and seeing what's there and how we should approach this case," said defense attorney Eric Davis.

McDonald faces court-ordered restrictions, including no Internet, no computers and no cameras and he is also subject to drug testing. He remains suspended without pay. If's he's convicted opn the charge of improper photography with a visual recording, McDonald faces anywhere from six months to two years probation.


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