Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

February 26, 2013

Sexting teacher sent more than 4,000 text messages to students

SUNBURY, Penn. — Michael Zack, 24, of Marion Heights, Penn. a former substitute teacher pleaded guilty in December to a felony count of unlawful contact with a minor and a misdemeanor of corruption of minors.

Zack is the nephew of the Shamokin Area School District Superintendent James T. Zack.

Zack originially was charged with sending approximately 4,300 text messages to two 17-year-old and two 16-year-old girls who attended Shamokin schools at the time. Many of the messages, which were sent between March 15 and Oct. 30, 2011, contained graphic sexual material, police said.

Zack appeared before President Judge Robert Sacavage, who read off a list of accomplishments Zack had achieved. Then the judge lectured him.

“You had reached academic success, and you did an internship for the Northumberland County Juvenile Court Services and you even were a Civil War re-enactor,” Sacavage said. “You hit some high notes and now have become an embarrassment to your family and community.”

Zack was hired as a 180-day substitute teacher in the district in August 2011 and was terminated by the school board in December 2011. He voluntarily signed an affidavit surrendering his teacher’s license, which had been suspended.

Sacavage asked Zack if he agreed with the court’s presentence report and evaluation.

“This says you have a sexual obsession,” Sacavage said.

“I disagree,” Zack said.

Sacavage said sending graphic material to minors was a serious problem.

Zack said that he didn’t necessarily initiate the contact, and Sacavage began to raise his voice.

“Are you telling this court that this is normal activity for someone who is a school teacher?” Sacavage asked.

“No, your honor,” Zack replied.

Sacavage then sentenced Zack to six months of house arrest, three years of intermediate punishment and two years of probation. Zack is not allowed to use a cell phone, a computer with an Internet connection or any form of social media during the probationary term.

“I want to tell the court I am truly sorry for my actions,” Zack told Sacavage. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t regret what has happened.”

Sacavage told Zack he would monitor his progress.

Shamokin school board member Ed Griffiths said the district was short of teachers and Zack was well qualified for the substitute teaching position at the time he was hired by the school district.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014