Former Onslow teacher secretly recorded students undressing

A former Onslow County Public Schools teacher is facing charges of using hidden cameras to secretly record students undressing in a classroom.

2022-04-29 STEPHEN J BERA - CHILD EXPLOITATION - ONSLOW - QUIET EPIDEMIC

STEPHEN JOSEPH BERA

Stephen Joseph Bera, age 46, was taken into custody by the Jacksonville Police Department in the early morning of April 29 and was initially charged with Secretly using or Installing a Photography Device with the Intent to capture the image of another without their Consent; NCGS 14-202(f).

Bera was issued a $25,000 secured bond and was released from the Onslow County jail the same morning.

The charges have been amended to 10 counts of using or installing a photographic image and 10 counts of possessing photographic images from peeping.

Bera’s charges now fall under North Carolina’s Peeping laws; General Statute 14-202 (f) and General Statute 14-202 (g).

14-202(f) reads: “Any person who, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, secretly or surreptitiously uses or installs in a room any device that can be used to create a photographic image with the intent to capture the image of another without their consent shall be guilty of a Class I felony.”

14-202(g) reads: “Any person who knowingly possesses a photographic image that the person knows, or has reason to believe, was obtained in violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class I felony.”

On April 29, the Jacksonville Police Department held a briefing which was live-streamed by the Jacksonville Daily News.

“We do have a lot of the video images, we have been going through those images for most of the day,” said Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Yaniero. “There’s a lot of images for us to look at.”

“The images fit that statute because they share students in various stages of undress, and so we’ll continue to look at those videos and we’re reached out to some of our ICAT partners and they’re helping us go through the data that we have within the devices that we seized last night,” Yaniero said.

It is unclear yet why students were changing clothes at school.

Yaniero indicated it would take some time for law enforcement to go through all of the images and asked for parents to talk to their children to see if they had any physical contact with Bera.

According to District Attorney Ernie Lee, his office is working with police to determine if there was indeed any physical contact or if the videos had been shared in any way.

Bera taught English Language Arts at New Bridge Middle School and according to the district, he surrendered his North Carolina teaching license which covered the areas of English 9-12, Language Arts 6-9, Social Studies 6-9.

In a statement, the Onslow County Public School system also said Bera resigned. A copy the statement was obtained from Brent C. Anderson, the Chief Communications Officer for Onslow County Schools.

“Mr. Bera has resigned his teaching position, surrendered his teaching license, and is no longer employed with the Onslow County School system,” the district statement reads in part.

“He began his employment with OCS in 2007 as a Language Arts teacher at Hunters Creek Middle School. He also worked at Northwood Park Middle School, Onslow Virtual School and, most recently, New Bridge Middle School,” reads the district statement. “District staff have contacted administrators at these schools to make them aware of his past employment history and will be cooperating with the investigation.”

State statute requires that school boards consider reporting to the instance of any education employee who resigns without giving a 30-day notice the N.C. State Board of Education. A district is required to make such a report if criminal activity is associated with the resignation.

30 day notice - Quiet Epidemic - resignation

Police ask that anyone with information can contact JPD Criminal Investigations Division Detective B. Stitz at 910-938-5039 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.  Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
This entry was posted in A.P. Dillon (LL1885), CRIME, EDUCATION, Quiet Epidemic and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Former Onslow teacher secretly recorded students undressing

  1. Pingback: More details emerge in former Onslow teacher secret recording case | LL1885

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