No charges filed against teachers in Rocky River photo scandal: I-Team

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ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has learned that no charges will be filed in connection to an investigation into six teachers at Rocky River High School.

The case has now been closed more than six months after a firestorm sparked by talk about an explicit picture of a student.

Police said earlier that they never found any photo like that. Now, the Rocky River prosecutor says he also found no evidence the teachers tried to cover up anything.  

Back in March, a classroom camera caught two teachers in a private chat. They wondered if another teacher had taken a dirty photo of a female student and then sent it around.

But, again, police did not find that picture and now the entire criminal case is closed.

“After a ruling by the city judge and our confidence in that ruling, we have determined there was no criminality committed by these teachers. So, therefore, we have closed the investigation,” Rocky River Prosecutor Michael O’Shea said.

In a court filing, Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons wrote, “The Rocky River prosecutor has not provided any documents or information to… indicate the foregoing teachers tampered with evidence or obstructed an investigation.”

Some folks we spoke to in town on Thursday still want to know more about how the case got to this point.

The investigation comes to a close, but police never did a full electronic search of any phones. Despite the talk of a possible explicit photo of a student, investigators said they never had enough evidence to get permission from the court to do a complete search of phones.

Weeks ago, one of the teachers involved spoke out to the I-Team.

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Joe Toner said.

When asked if there ever was a picture of a student passed around, he said, “No. No. We would never do that.”

Six teachers ended up resigning or retiring in the middle of the investigation.

They’ve been cleared of charges, but they’re still trying to clear their names.

Joe Toner also said recently, “There was never a moment when your kids were ever in any danger from any of us.”

Meanwhile, the school district also referred its investigation to the Ohio Department of Education. The state could punish those teachers by taking action that would affect them teaching anywhere in Ohio.

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