North Central High School teacher arrested in child exploitation investigation

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FISHERS, Ind. (February 10, 2016) – According to court documents, a North Central High School teacher was arrested at his Fishers home following a child exploitation investigation.

Sameer Thakar, 39, was charged with dissemination of matter harmful to minors, a Class D felony.

According to charging documents, Thakar communicated with a 16-year-old female in Oregon via Skype between January 20, 2014 and February 12, 2014. Thakar sent at least one sexually explicit picture to the girl. MSD Washington Township said no North Central students appear to be involved.

Court papers said Thakar knew the girl in Oregon was underage but told investigators he couldn't remember if he knew she was 16 when he sent the inappropriate image.

Investigators got a file from the FBI and talked to Thakar on February 4th. Investigators said he told them he'd chatted with the girl in 2014 and knew why investigators were speaking to him.

MSD Washington Township said Thakar's access to email and his district computer has been terminated. Thakar bonded out of jail on $5,000 bond but was not at his Fishers home Wednesday evening.

The case follows the arrest of former Park Tudor basketball coach Kyle Cox last week on a federal coercion and enticement charge. He's accused of having a sexually explicit relationship with a 15-year-old student.

A child advocate told CBS4 the internet is making these alleged crimes easier.

"It creates an easier path for the perpetrator to the child," said Toby Stark, Executive Director of Chaucie's Place, a Hamilton County child advocacy organization.

Stark said these cases and the numbers of them are not surprising.

"If there's a person out there who is a child sexual abuse offender or considering, they are going to go where the children are. They just are," she said.

Stark teaches a sexual abuse prevention program targeted at educators and those who work with children. More than 4,000 adults in central Indiana have gone through it.

She said one of the most important things to remember is abusers are often in positions of trust, working hard to hide their desires.

"All perpetrators are not created equal. There's different reasons, different psychology behind it, she said.

As for how teachers' educational programs are adjusting to a changing digital landscape, a spokesperson for Butler University did not want to comment specifically on these cases, but said students leave their education programs with a foundation in ethics, conduct, and digital literacy.

MSD Washington Township released this statement following the announcement of Thakar's arrest:

On the evening of February 9th, the MSD of Washington Township was informed that a teacher in his first year at North Central High School was arrested. That communication informed the district that Mr. Sameer Thakar was arrested because it was alleged that he sent illegal and clearly inappropriate material to a minor in Oregon.

The School District before sunrise on February 10th, directly reported the arrest to Child Protective Services in both Indiana and Oregon. The school district placed the teacher on administrative leave until further notice pending our own investigation and the teacher has been instructed not to appear on school property. Additionally, overnight the teacher’s access to district email and computer was terminated and the information on the computer was secured.

Immediately the next step of the school district was to notify the Fishers police department of the school district’s actions to secure the email and computer of this teacher.
At this time we have no information that any MSD Washington Township student has been involved with this investigation involving this teacher.

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