Southeast Teacher Arrested

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

A Lauderdale County teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of of possession of child pornography.

The arrest of 58-year-old Stephen Risher was made by investigators with the Attorney General's Office Cyber Crime Unit, with help from the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, as part of Mississippi's Internet Crimes Against
Children ask Force.

Risher, of 874 Bonita Drive, was a music teacher for Southeast High School and Middle School.

When Lauderdale County School officials learned of Risher's arrest, they took immediate action, according to superintendent Randy Hodges.

"Mr. Risher has been placed on suspension without pay, cannot be back on the campus until this is all settled," said Hodges.

Hodges said the district is disappointed in the arrest. In the meantime, he says the schools are focusing on students' safety.

"As a school district, we do everything in our power to be proactive and prevent these kinds of things from happening because the number one thing is safety, for the school board, school district, all of us," said Hodges. "It's a priority, safety is. We do everything that we possibly can to ensure that our children are able to attend school in a safe environment."

According to Hodges, child pornography was not found on any school computers. It was discovered on Risher's personal computer.

"We also did an in-school investigation and checking Mr. Risher's computer for example," Hodges said. "And we have not found anything that would have been of concern school-related."

Hodges says the school and the district checked Risher's background as they would when hiring any other teacher. By the looks of his references, this incident was unexpected.

"That's checking references and checking background," said Hodges. "Certainly we are required by law to do that and we did, and there was nothing that was a red flag that would cause us to have any concern."

Risher is charged with five counts of possession of child porn. His bond was set at $125,000 bond, or $25,000 for each count.

The attorney general's office says the penalty for possession of child porn is five to 40 years per count in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. If convicted, Risher faces up to 200 years behind bars.

The Lauderdale County School District released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying Risher was immediately suspended without pay after his arrest.

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  • by SEHS student Location: Meridian on Mar 29, 2011 at 08:33 PM
    Personally i dont think he did this crime, as every student at our school knows most of the computers have VNC on them... its a program used to access computers remotely as long as u have the access pass, if u knew some-1 from a higher office could search ur computer at any time without stepping foot into ur classroom would u keep something illegal on it? also, at the time of this crime, it was before we got those new computers, back then our school's computer had really low security(the basic firewall all window computers come with). From that alone anyone with low hacking skills could have easily put those pictures on that computer, our school's computers have been hacked several times over the passed few years. Even after the technological facts, he wasn't that type of person, he had 2 much self respect to even think of committing something like this. He's probably pleading guilty because in this run down state known as Mississippi, we don't have lawyers who could defend a person based on technology as a majority of our population are technologically illiterate, this includes a large portion of youths as well. So it would be impossible for him to even stand a chance in court no matter how he pleaded... it's really a shame.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 03:28 PM
    easy teacher is moved from one state to the other or area to area asap that is a red flag HR should be trained in spotting this..
  • by Anonymous Location: Neshoba County on Dec 21, 2009 at 01:21 PM
    I just have to ask all of you a question, what more do you think the school district should do,express some ways that you think the school district could do a better job of checking up on people and keeping our kids safer? The district can only check backgrounds and and previous employment, but if nothing shows up then what else do you think they should do? I mean not all teachers are disgusting pigs who look at child porn on the internet and sexually abuse students. Yes it happens and it shouldn't be but how do you stop it if you don't know that it is going on.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 10:09 AM
    face it the NEA is corrupt just like the rest of the gov. is.. all they do is toss more money at it get rid of it bottom like
  • by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:42 AM
    To Anonymous Dec 17, 2009 10:16 P.M. I am not going to go back and forth with you on this matter because it is what it is, but like I asked before "why does everything has to be about a school district?" It's not about ME facing reality, or turning a blind eye. My thing is this, it has happened, so let the authorities and LCSD deal with it and move forward. You sounded as if you were upset because it was LCSD and wanted to play the "school district game" and that should not be the case, it's almost like in other cases where people play the "RACE" CARD, it's actually a little childish, don't you think? MPSD, LCSD, or WHEREVER, be THANKFUL he was caught and is being dealt with. May God Bless YOU, HIM and ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS!!!!!!
  • by lee Location: lauderdale on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:33 AM
    I think it is ashamed. We have some very good teachers at southeast that care but we also have a few that are there for a paycheck. My daughter was questioned about her sexual preference after school by a female teacher in a private setting. I took this to the principal and nothing was done to the teacher. I then submitted a letter to him and the LCSD and nothing was ever done. These things go on in southeast school and the administration all the way up to the superintendant covers them up until something like this happens. The admin ought to be held accountable for the cover ups. I know one will be on election day. This is the same school that a long time teacher at SE was assaulted by a student and injured and they covered up. It's about time we elect people with some christian values. Not just people who live it on Sunday and forget it on Monday. I just hope my children make it through school. WE NEED GOD BACK IN SE SCHOOL. NOT JUST OUTSIDE ON THE SIGN. Practice what you teach!!!
  • by a former teacher Location: somewhere in the county on Dec 17, 2009 at 09:52 PM
    Sexual indiscretion between teachers/coaches & students are as old as public education itself. Anyone thinking anything else is blind. No, it shouldn't happen & porn is the worse of the worst. Fact is, you DON'T know who's teaching your children at any stage of the public school system, PERIOD! Remember back in 1968 we had a kindergarten teacher who was killed in Meridian for being in the KKK & participating in a bombing of a Jewish home. What they do in the day & what they do at night SHOULD be public knowledge. I have a degree in education & most of what I was taught at the university was UNlearning the morals & values I was taught at home & church. You take that equation with the people who have no morals or values background (or good at hiding the fact that they don't) & you have a recipe for all kinds of anarchy at the public education level. Do your research, don't just send your kids to school & turn their minds over to whomever they get as a teacher. BE AWARE!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 17, 2009 at 08:16 PM
    To Anonoymous on Dec 17, 2009 at 04:59 PM: Its called REALITY. Maybe its time for you to realize that things such as this IS happening and to stop turning a blind eye to whats really going on.
  • by anonymous on Dec 17, 2009 at 03:24 PM
    Not the first time that sexual misconduct has happened in the lauderdale county schools involving teachers.
  • by Anonoymous on Dec 17, 2009 at 02:59 PM
    To Anonymous Dec 17, 2009 04:15 P.M. It doesn't matter whether it has happened in the MPSD or not, it happened and it should not have happened. Get real and stop acting stupid by saying that it is going on or has gone on, but just hasn't been exposed yet in the MPSD. This is not about what school, it's about "who". Also, it wasn't on his school computer "THANK GOD", it was on his PERSONAL computer. Why must everything be about a school district?
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