St. David's School employee accused of taking upskirt photos of student

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- An employee at St. David's School in Raleigh -- whose wife is soon expecting their first child -- was accused of taking explicit photos of a student at the school.

Raleigh Police Department arrested Todd Aberts, 37, saying he took upskirt images of an 18-year-old student while on campus.

Investigators said they were tipped off to the crime when school officials contacted them.

See also: St. David's School teacher pleads guilty to taking inappropriate photos of students
Aberts faces charges of secret peeping and possession of photographic image from secret peeping. He was booked and placed under a bond of $100,000.

As Aberts faced a judge for the first time, his wife and another woman sat on the back row.

Aberts' attorney said he was the 'technical director' for St. David's -- a private school.

Police said Aberts was on a stage at the school when he used his phone to take two pictures under the skirt of an 18-year-old female student.

It happened Wednesday afternoon and was reported to Raleigh investigators.

In court, Aberts' attorney called the charges "overblown" and attempted to portray Aberts as a family man.

"He is married. His wife is with us today. She is, the two of them are about to have their first child in a matter of weeks," said his attorney, Seth Blum. "Without getting too much into the facts, my very quick review is that these charges may be overblown. We're looking forward to the facts coming out. I hope that when people get the whole story they'll see that this is not what it appears to be right now."

But the prosecutor said the evidence will prove otherwise.

"This happened at the school," said Prosecutor Kristin Peebles. "There was a witness to this who reported that they saw this defendant take a photograph of this victim with his cellphone. And I believe, there was a photo located on the phone. He also confessed to this, that he made a terrible mistake.

"Two images were located on the phone. One being an up-the-skirt photograph. It does not say what the other one was," Peebles added.

St. David's School Headmaster Jonathan Yonan released the following statement:

"We are aware that a support staff member was arrested off campus yesterday evening following an investigation by the Raleigh Police. Yesterday afternoon we learned a staff member may have inappropriately photographed a fully-clothed upper school student. The School immediately turned the matter over to the police for investigation. The staff member arrested is no longer employed by St. David's. We are grateful for the vigilance of our community members and for the responsiveness and partnership we share with the Raleigh Police. The safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority."

The school also sent a letter to parents from Yonan on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Leadership Team:

Dear St. David's Community,

There are moments in the life of a school community when you are reminded of how powerful a force for good the partnership among our students, families, and school can be. Unfortunately, it is often in times of difficulty that the power of our partnership is most clear. I'm writing to make you aware of some very troubling news affecting our school community.

Yesterday evening, a member of our support staff, who assists with the technical side of school events, was arrested off-campus by the Raleigh Police Department and charged for inappropriately photographing a fully-clothed upper school student with a mobile phone.

After this conduct was reported, the school immediately contacted the police and the family of the student involved. The school followed the guidance of the Raleigh Police Department and this individual is no longer employed by St. David's.

All appropriate actions are being taken. It is standard school policy that employees are subjected to a thorough criminal background check prior to employment. Because of our longstanding partnership with the Raleigh Police Department, our school was able to respond effectively and promptly.

We hold the safety of our students as our highest priority. We lean firmly on the truth that God identifies and cares for all those who are afflicted, and we invite you to join us in praying at this time for all parties involved. Let us draw closer together as we move through the days ahead.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.