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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.

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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