Inside the new investigation into Rocky River High School teachers

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ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found out why police decided to take a second look at an investigation into a group of teachers at Rocky River High School.

For weeks, police and Rocky River City Schools have been asking questions sparked by talk among teachers about an explicit photo of a female student.

Days ago, police announced there would be no charges. Then, Thursday night, we revealed police re-opened the case. So, we took a look inside the new investigation.

Rocky River Police Chief George Lichman told us investigators are looking into, “Information collected that may not have been provided to us.” The chief wouldn’t get more specific about that. He added police are taking a “fresh look” at what was done on the case and what should be done.

We reported earlier, in their first look, police did not fully search the phones or computers of the teachers. But, we’ve found police have taken steps to have phone companies save their records.

The chief said investigators are talking to city and county prosecutors about how to dig into this next.

The investigation began when video surfaced of two high school teachers talking on a camera used for online learning. They discussed a photo another teacher said he’d taken of a female student. One teacher can be heard saying, “He said she’s smokin’ hot… Best in the school.”

Another teacher there asks, “Why’d he send it to you?”

The first then answers, “Cause he thinks it’s acceptable, I guess. Thank God, I have him blocked.”

The I-Team also reviewed a string of text messages that police went through as well. Police saw a dirty, doctored photo of a TV star, comments about current events, other goofy internet photos and comments about a school administrator. But, no picture of a student.

Still, they’ve re-opened the case and many parents are glad to see that.

We called some of the teachers at numbers listed for them in a police report. One number took us to a sales organization and a man refused to give us information about the person we were looking for as he tried to explain some $100 gift voucher.

Defense attorney Henry Hilow represents one of the teachers. He told us the teachers didn’t share pictures of a teen.

“That picture does not exist,” he said.

Still, we asked why did the teachers even talk the way they did on the recording? One teacher told the other, “Nice enough girl. Really freaking… Put together.”

Hilow admitted teachers are held to a higher standard.

“We have to go back to the initial purpose of that conversation. If that picture existed. And, to report it,” he said.

Records reviewed by the I-Team show police have asked the phone companies to “preserve”  records for a series of phone numbers for the first 12 days of March.

We also contacted the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. But it declined to comment with the investigation ongoing.

Six teachers have been placed on leave and the school district’s internal investigation is still not finished.

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