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Student's Half-Nude Photo to Teacher Was Ticket to Little Classwork

The student testifies at trial that after sending Richard Rack the revealing photos, she no longer had homework, and he would supply answers on tests for her.

Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente, where Richard Rack once taught. Patch file photo.
Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente, where Richard Rack once taught. Patch file photo.

After sending a half-nude photo to her teacher, schoolwork got a lot easier for one alleged victim of Richard Rack.

The former student, now 16 and entering her junior year, testified Tuesday morning in court that she accidentally sent her math teacher a photo through Facebook, intending it for a boy her age. But after Rack indicated his approval – he liked what he saw – she sent two more, and suddenly, she didn’t have to work so hard in math class.

It was the second day of testimony in the trial against Rack, who is charged with six felony counts of lewd acts on a child ages 14 or 15, one felony count of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a minor under 16. 

After accidentally sending the first photo and seeing it lead to an easier time in the classroom, she sent two more half-nude photos, the girl testified.

It was “almost like being a teacher’s pet,” she told the court. “Everyone would be doing classwork, and I would just be doing my own thing, listening to music and draw.” She also was no longer required to do homework, and if she had trouble during a test, Rack would help her.

“If I didn’t understand the question, he’d pretty much do it for me,” she said.

She added that if she felt like talking, Rack would allow her to be late or even skip her next class.

While the student said she did not have sexual relationship with Rack, he did make comments of a sexual nature to her, including that he would love to throw her on his desk and hear her call his name and that she shouldn’t push up her breasts because he preferred a more natural shape.

Earlier in the morning, the girl’s mother testified that she grew increasingly suspicious in the summer between eighth and ninth grades because Rack would show up at the beach or her daughter’s hot yoga class.

She checked her phone bills and found numerous calls and texts between her daughter and a 619-number. Using a reverse directory, the mom determined the cell number belonged to Rack.

“I was at work when I came to this realization, and I literally felt like I was stabbed in the heart,” the mom said through tears. “I told my husband we’ve got a really big problem, we have to get home right away.”

The couple sped home and grabbed their daughter’s phone and computer before she could erase anything. The text history was short but did include three full frontal nude photos the girl had taken of herself and sent to Rack.

All told, there were more than 2,000 text messages between the two between June 29 and Aug. 1, 2011, the mom said. From her phone bills, she knows about 32 photos were exchanged between them, although the girl said many were scenic pictures Rack sent her from a Hawaiian vacation.

The student said she felt as if Rack were her best friend. She could confide in him, and she would spend her lunch break almost every day with him. He did hug her a couple of times and once kissed her on her forehead during a “sideways” hug when she was crying over a boy.

The student also testified that once she caught Rack with an erection as she packed up to leave an after-school tutoring session. She just looked away and hurried out.

“I didn’t really pay attention it. I glanced, I kind of noticed it and walked away,” she said.

Southpaw August 21, 2013 at 11:23 AM
How sad that these idiotic girls are always trying to make people believe they "accidentally" sent a photo to someone. If it was an accident, why did she send more? Good luck to all these idiots who are ruining their futures with nude photos to their BF's, teachers, coaches, etc. This will all catch up to them in the end.
M August 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Not to take away from what this teacher did...but isn't it illegal because its considered pornography for minors to be sending nude, partially nude etc photos electronically? Penny can you shed light on this?
Patrick Crowley August 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM
So why isn't the girl being prosecuted for Child Pornography? She has taken photo's of herself, under the age of 16, and sent them across the wireless network to another person's phone. That is a Child Pornography violation and she should be prosecuted whether the intent was to send it to another or not!
nobody August 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM
If you are a teacher, and a 14 years old student send you a nude picture, you report to the principal! call her parents! The man is a pedophile, and a teacher! The girl did something absolutely 'idiotic', even sending a picture to a boy is bad enough, but the teacher!!! Come on!
John August 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM
So I would assume the girl is being charged since she took the images of herself a minor then distributed them which is distribution of child pornography and by law she has to be prosecuted also. You have to punish both parties. Him for not reporting them and her for distribution.
Teresa August 21, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Southpaw, M, Patrick, and John...are you all serious? How can you compare the actions of a immature adolescent to that of an adult who knows the difference between right and wrong. Every bit of research shows that kids, even young teens, do not have the same reasoning power of an adult. She made a mistake by taking a nude pic and sending it, but he took it a hundred miles past that. He is a pedophile and to blame a child for the actions of an adult is disgusting. He groomed these young ladies to get his rocks off....he is a sick piece of poop.
Jen August 21, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I agree with Teresa and nobody. We're talking about a child here! He is an ADULT and a pedophile. Good grief, people!
Teacher August 21, 2013 at 03:45 PM
This guys sickens me. Makes all of us look bad. I hope he has plenty of years in prison to think about what he did to this kid. As for the girl...People, 16 yr old girls aren't what they used to be. I've been a teacher over 20 years and this generation of kids is a lot more "savvy" than kids used to be. Maybe its the internet, social media, rap music and violent video games (aren't those what we blame for everything?) but this girl knew exactly what she was doing. I would bet that this kid has gotten drunk on beer, experimented with pot, and been sexually active. I'm not taking a shot at her. STATISTICS say that about 16 yr old girls these days. The teacher is a pig and I hope he rots. The girl? Her eyes were wide open.
John August 21, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Teresa..Its not comparing the 2 its holding accountable people for their stupidness. Thats a huge problem in our country today we have bleeding heart liberals and such that do not hold people accountable for their own actions so they continue to do stupid or illegal things. If you break the laws willingly as they both did then you charge them both with the cr4imes they committed. She might think better next time after she spends 30 days in a juvey house and she looses her phone until she is 18 while he sits in jail for the wrongs he did. When people coddle and over protect we get kids who grow up as idiots and make our society worse. At 16 she is more then capable to know right from wrong and knows sending self nude pics to an adult man that is her teacher is wrong morally and legally. If you say she doesnt then you have some issues yourself and I hope you do not have kids as any parent by this time should have taught their kid basic basic morals and understandings of right and wrong. If not maybe she needs to be in special needs class and her parents arrested for poor parenting of a minor.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) August 21, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Latest story: Former Student Describes Sex Acts in the Classroom in Rack Trial http://sanclemente.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/former-student-describes-sex-acts-in-the-classroom-in-rack-trial
Teresa August 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM
John...I do have kids who have a very clear understanding of the difference between wrong and right. They have been raised with strong morals in a two parent, hard working, educated family. But here's the kicker...do you know what? They still make mistakes and still need guidance. They are young and they are still learning how to be the best "semi" adult they can be. It takes practice to be good at something even when it comes to maturity and good decision making. Richard rack, who I know personally, and who had my son in his math class, is a sick perverted, pedophile. I am more concerned with how Rack is going to be punished, since he was the mature, educated, professional teacher who was in charge.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) August 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM
At the readers' request, I asked DDA Vanessa Woods why she didn't pursue charges against the student for sending the nude photos. She said it was because the girl is a minor.
M August 21, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Thanks for checking penny! I thought minors could be charged for sending and receiving pornographic pics, but I guess not.
Bob B August 22, 2013 at 01:19 AM
We're coddling our minors way too much in this country. Yes, the teacher should be prosecuted, but the 14 year old should also be held accountable for her actions. Our kids are running our society! Surely, a 14 year old girl knows it is wrong to take a 1/2 nude photo of herself and and send it to an adult (teacher).
Patrick Crowley August 22, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Teresa, I blame the parents for failing to inculcate the child in the legal aspects of owning a communications device. I blame the child for being so stupid as to do what she did and in her thinking that this could be waved away as just an "accident" in sending it to the teacher. These were acts that were thought of and then followed through on. In other words: This was an intentional act, not an accident, and she is therefore responsible, whether in Juvenile Court or not, for her actions!
Patrick Crowley August 22, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Penny Arevalo, did you check the Federal Laws on Child Pornography? I'm pretty sure that there are no provisions for excluding Minor's from prosecution! The Deputy District Attorney may not be pursuing but it is a violation!
rebecca August 22, 2013 at 09:08 AM
all you people saying negative comments about the girl who made a mistake are riduculous!!! she is paying for her mistakes by having to go through the trial. i do hope she is made to take the class over again however since she was given a pass by this idiot teacher. i always thought the law about distributing child porn in cases such as this was totally bogus anyway and should be revised- perhaps it has and why she is not being prosecuted and it is in the judgement of the prosecutor.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) August 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM
There is such thing as prosecutorial discretion. So whether it is a law or not, the DDA is not pursuing it. Before his interaction with this student,Rack is alleged to have been sexually active with another student. That relationship started the "old-fashioned" way, physically progressing from hand-holding, to hugs, to kissing, to more, the girl testified.
Jaime Marie Heath August 22, 2013 at 09:55 PM
How did she "accidentally" send it? Why did she have her teacher's cell phone number?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) August 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM
The photo was sent by Facebook, not cell. As for the texting that happened later on, the testimony is that he started texting her. He gave her his text number, not the other way around. In fact, he didn't even say who it was initially. He did it as more of "guess who" sort of flirtatious thing. She said it took "15 texts" to figure out who it was.
Dave August 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
We are the most incarceration happy country on earth and we can see why right here. Demands for prosecution, molly-coddling kids, straw-man accusations at "liberals", on and on. Is it because tossing people in jail left and right (more accurately, people who can't afford a good attorney) has worked out so well for us? No, I doubt that. Or is it because we've become a mean-spirited and vindictive people who allow fully half the prison population to be made up with non-violent offenders? With some of the posts here, I'd have to say the latter rather than the former as we demand "tough on crime" politicians do their worst. After all, we get the system we deserve. You can be sure Rack will have a tough time of it no matter where he goes, his life will be in constant danger, violent prisoners have kids too, and he will never know a minute's peace the rest of his life and perhaps this is how it should be. But demanding the kid's prosecution? What higher good would that server? It smacks of just more of the "blame the victim" mentality that with our vindictive attitudes has resulted in one heck of fouled up society.
nobody August 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Absolutely Dave, and it will make the victims feel guilty, ashamed and afraid to say what's happening to them, specially kids, it is very easy to abuse a kid and convince him/her to be quite or he/she will be blamed.
Debra September 05, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Any teen these days are smart enough to know not to send naked pictures. Innocence? Please, this isn't 1960. They know better, and the law will not protect them against distributing porn. NO teacher should be friending students on FB (and that was NO mistake he got that image). Yes, he was WRONG but the LINEs are very blurred in today's world about what's appropriate--and what's innocent. Sexualization of children is glorified on TV (Miley Cyrus-MTV, anyone?) and teen porn all over the internet. It's all smoke and mirrors to be outraged or surprised when some dumbo acts on his fantasies perpetuated by our society (don't touch, but look, look, look!), and even more ridiculous to cry innocence when, in this case, the teen was benefiting for a good length of time she was engaging him--and describes in details the perks. More ironic, is the number of texts that went undetected by her parents. The entire situation is a mess. I hope they sort it out, but if I still had a teenager, I'd be all over that phone every month.
rebecca September 05, 2013 at 11:15 AM
SO easy to say... you'd have a crappy relationship with your teen and he/she would not be opening up and tell you nothing on their own and would not bring friends around to hang out at your house so you get to know them which is the ULTIMATE relationship. You have to save those times to get into their phone for when you really think it's worth it.
Nett September 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Put God back in the equation and watch what a difference it makes! Pray for our children! PS..just a little too much info in this article I could have done without!
Darla October 10, 2013 at 12:41 AM
If your 14 year old daughter does not know that it is WRONG to send a half nude picture to ANYONE, should question their parenting abilities. Parents need to stop making excuses for their poorly and morally corrupt children. They have no one to blame but themselves, As for the teacher, he is a douchebag.

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