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Murfreesboro teacher charged with making child pornography

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Louis Levine
EDITOR'S NOTE: Contents of this story may offend some readers.

A Murfreesboro City Schools science teacher was charged with producing child pornography after Metro Nashville Sex Crimes detectives and FBI agents served a federal warrant on him Tuesday.

Louis J. Levine, 52, of 133 Alton Road in Nashville, who traveled among Murfreesboro City Schools teaching science, is alleged to have provided drugs to teenagers and allowed them to engage in sex in his home or on his property over the past 30 years, Metro Police reported in a press release. Levine is alleged to have videotaped the sexual activity.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Murfreesboro City Schools Director Marilyn Mathis reported she is recommending termination for Levine following his indictment. He was a first-year science support teacher.

Levine was placed on administrative leave from the Murfreesboro School System April 1 after officials there learned he was under investigation. After his arrest, he was suspended without pay.

“She (Mathis) said that she knew of no unlawful contact with a Murfreesboro school child by Levine,” the school system’s press release stated.

Mathis will notify Levine she will terminate his contract this year and his contract will not be renewed next year.

Before he was employed, the school system conducted a thorough criminal history and background check, including a check for outstanding warrants but no negative information was uncovered. The background check included fingerprints cleared by the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Children’s Services Child Protective Services Division.

Guidance counselors and principals are being briefed to assist any child with concerns.

The police press release stated Levine worked as a Metro substitute teacher for several years. He last worked in a Metro school on March 26 and has now been removed from the substitute list.

He was associated in the past with the Cumberland Science Museum, as well as youth camps and other settings involving children. The alleged victims who have provided information thus far are from Davidson and Williamson Counties.

Sex Crimes Detective Jeff Wiser began his investigation of Levine on March 25 after receiving information from a concerned parent. In the days that followed, Wiser interviewed numerous persons, including minor teenagers, who told of an outbuilding, known as “Little House,” behind Levine’s residence where teenagers would drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and engage in sex, the press release stated.

Wiser was also told that teenagers would engage in sex inside the main house, the press release stated. The teenagers knew one room in the home as the “Isolation Chamber,” which contained a waterbed with a wooden box over it.

Present day teenagers, as well as those who were teens in the 1970s and 80s, have provided similar information in regard to sex and drug activity at Levine’s home, police reported. Some told of Levine videotaping sexual encounters. Others said Levine showed them what appeared to be homemade sex videos.

In a federal affidavit, Metro Nashville Detective Keith Sutherland, who is assigned to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, stated Wiser received a call from a concerned parent of a minor teenage boy who expressed concern about teens spending time with Levine at his home. Specifically, the parent believed Levine purchased alcohol and marijuana for the teens and use a bedroom for sex.

The parent gave names and contact information for several children spending time at Levine’s home and referred Wiser to Levine’s My Space page.

“Detective Wiser accessed Levine’s My Space page … and was alarmed by the content of the page,” Sutherland stated.

Wiser spoke to a girl March 30 who told him she and other minor teens congregated at Levine’s “Little House” where she witnesses teens drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs, the detective reported. She was aware of sexual activity.

Two brothers talked to Wiser March 13, one a minor and the second one who just turned 18. They told Wiser they used marijuana and drank alcohol in Levine’s “Little House.”

The older brother said when he was a child, Levine “showed him pornography that appeared to be homemade and depicted a video of a male and female,” Sutherland’s affidavit stated. “He believes the male depicted in the video was a 16-year-old acquaintance who frequents Levine’s home.” He recognized the bedroom of Levine’s daughter.

When the daughter was not home, Levine set up the room with mirrors and a box containing pornography, condoms, lubricants and chocolate.

“Minor teenagers would use the room to engage in sexual intercourse, sometimes at the encouragement of Levine,” the affidavit stated.

Wiser obtained a search warrant for Levine’s home March 31 where he obtained evidence and spoke to Levine who told Wiser he picked up a group of boys in Franklin and brought them to his home.

As part of the investigation, an adult male told Wiser between 1977-82 when the male was a teen, he and others spent time at Levine’s home. Behind the “Little House” was a shed with a peephole into the “Little House.”

The man said Levine showed the boys pornographic movies and demonstrated how to masturbate, the affidavit stated. Levine allowed the teen and his girlfriend to have sex and taped their sexual encounter. He provided information about other boys who spent time in Levine’s home.

“He believed that Levine had engaged in sexual activity with at least two of these individuals when the individuals were minors,” Sutherland’s affidavit stated.

A 16-year-old boy told Wiser he was under the influence of drugs at Levine’s home and fell asleep, the affidavit stated. When he awoke, Levine had his hand on his genitals.

Wiser interviewed another adult who was a boy in the mid-1980s who stated there was inappropriate sexual contact between him and Levine and other teens, the affidavit stated.

Wiser talked to Levine Friday who stated he secretly videotaped a boy masturbating in Levine’s bathroom, adding he is “fascinated” with the boy and got in bed with him.

Detective Wiser executed a search warrant at Levine’s home on March 31. Inside his bedroom, which was padlocked, officers found an extensive home network that included computer(s), four monitors, a significant number of cables running to other locations in the home, including the “Isolation Room,” and VHS & DVD players. Officers also found approximately 400 VHS videotapes and DVDs that appeared to be homemade.

Also seized during the search warrant was a Canon camcorder that contained videotape. The tape depicts teens engaging sexual activity. The teens said they had no knowledge they were being recorded.

Because the video camera and videotape were manufactured in Japan and traveled to the United States as part of interstate/foreign commerce, the federal government has jurisdiction in this child pornography case.

“Crimes against children in violation of federal law are an absolute top priority for the Department of Justice,” said Ed Yarbrough, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. “My office will continue to work closely with the FBI and local law enforcement to review cases like this and initiate prosecution when warranted.”

“I want to thank the men and women assigned to the police department’s Sex Crimes Unit for their dedication and commitment to very difficult cases such as this one,” Chief Ronal Serpas said. “Matters involving minors are not easy to investigate. I have a strong appreciation for what these detectives do day-to-day.”

The investigation involving Levine is continuing. State charges are expected.
Anyone with information regarding inappropriate behavior by Levine with minors is urged to contact the Metro Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit at 862-7540.

The public is reminded that the warrant and criminal complaint filed by the United States is merely an allegation and not evidence of guilt. Levine is presumed not guilty and is entitled to a jury trial at which the United States would bear the burden of proving the criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Members Opinions:
April 07, 2009 at 4:29pm
How many examples have we seen of this in both the city and county systems? It's almost becoming commonplace to see still another story of still another predator loose in the system. Between the police, sheriff and school systems, it seems criminal misconduct is becoming the rule, not the exception. Am I alone in being shocked and angered by all this?

The time has come to clean house in a big way and we need to start at the top.
April 07, 2009 at 5:14pm
Between the "police, sheriff, and school systems"... What about the responsibility of us parents? Why is the first thought about what other people aren't doing to protect our kids? Why isn't the first thought, "Where are we parents going wrong?" Yes, accountability needs to exist at the 'top levels' as well, but if parents don't take command of their kids, then the primary source of the problem lies right there - at the parents' feet.
April 07, 2009 at 6:42pm
This man has been sick for a long time. His illness has endangered the lives of people who could possibly have thoughts of this magnitude.

We as a society never know what kind of people we encounter daily in our lives. We hope that the very person we leave our most precious gift in the world to, we can trust.

In a word, we can not lie to ourselves, because after all of these stories that have been posted on this format, I can say I trust no one.

It would be hard to think my child,mother,
father,brother,sister,and so on would be safe, when I would think to myself will they be alright.

We could hate this man, tell this man what think or what should be done to him. In my life, my world, I would say that I were able to get through without him.

The laws are set to adapt for liability and other unfortunate lawsuits by these individuals. We are protecting the innocent and the guilty.

You know, until enough is enough, this is the track we run everyday.
April 07, 2009 at 7:20pm
it reminds me of the Addams family movie where Wednesday was ask what her costume was? She replied," I am a serial killer cause they look like everyone else." To true in today's article.

You can't look at one particular person and read their mind and figure out what their true intentions are.

The laws can put a person behind bars, and the law can let people like this out for "good behaviour"....Please! Is there really an answer to them(criminals) being trully punished correc?
April 07, 2009 at 7:38pm
30 years??? Numerous children??? Extremely hard to believe that only now his activities and identity are being discovered. Something smells here.

Also...here is something I don't get...they say they have a zero tolerance policy on weapons in school and I have heard cases where a child ( never been in trouble, good grades, etc.) has brought a plastic knife for their lunch and practically thrown under the jail, kicked out of school for good, and their reputation ruined, but.....what happens to this Monster????

First, Levine was ONLY placed on administrative leave from the Murfreesboro School System April 1, when the school system learned he was being investigated.

Then, after his ARREST, he was ONLY SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY!! And now, Mathis says that she will recommend his termination AFTER his INDICTMENT. Oh and she will be kind enough to, after all this, to notify Levine that his contract will be terminated for the rest of this year and oh,,it won't be renewed next year either!!! Gosh forbid we be too nice to this guy!!! This is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard...This man is a MONSTER people!!!

I, too, feel that the parents need to be included in the line-up of blame, but in this case...it begs, no..screams out..30 years of irreprehensible acts that no one ever caught on to? Or was it Blinders??

There should be a zero tolerance policy for teachers that molest our children. Lock them up and throw the key away!! And in my mind, this would still not be punishment enough!!!!
April 07, 2009 at 7:55pm
I feel your anger Onthehill, however, if the protocols are not followed, then our gentleman has a chance on making money.

Notice the steps being taken,how they will be taken and when.

You know, I miss my job, it was over nonsense. Out sick and explained to them why I was out.

This, the tracks are covered.
April 07, 2009 at 8:46pm
If this dude has been doning this since the 70's how wasnt he caught till now? Someone needs to wipe that smile off his face.
April 07, 2009 at 9:35pm
Look how long Jeffery Dahmer kept going. What was the response from people when the story hit the press. His neighbors and co-workers.
April 07, 2009 at 10:02pm
This guy is not a "monster." He is a moron. Everybody seems so surprised that teenagers got drunk and had sex. Do you not know that they film themselves and put it out on the net all the time?

Teenagers are stupid and have one-track minds, and people like this creep take advantage of it. They should throw him under the jail.
April 07, 2009 at 10:15pm
It is not normal behaviour for anyone to film theirself having sex and posting it on the web.
You calling kids stupid is probably why most act like they do.
Attagirl, moron would be more suitable elsewhere. This man is sick
What he has done, is opened up the door for more tragic stories.
April 07, 2009 at 10:24pm
I have to give attagirl some credit. If you are of the mind-set that 13/14 year olds are not having sex..Wake up...
April 07, 2009 at 10:30pm
We know what teenagers do. But if you think that it is proper to film and post it to the web, surely, you have lost your mind.
April 07, 2009 at 11:30pm
good gosh, SocEtTuem .... what has this story have to do with cleaning house this crap is going on everywhere, as said in other comments, where are the parents, where are your kids, who do they hang out with, even in this case with a criminal history this would not have been foumd out.
April 08, 2009 at 5:16am
Something about all of this just doesn't add up...
April 08, 2009 at 7:18am
I recently read some information that talked about how teens are divulging a LOT more information about themselves online than they would have ever divulged in a non-internet world. The internet is seen as a big mask that allows kids to (so they think) hide their true identity and 'act out' without it being real. This goes for things that are said online, told online, and even shown online. It's almost as if... if it's online, it's not quite so real. With that in mind, the decision to 'express' one's sexuality (online) is seen as not quite as big a deal. Very dangerous perspective.
April 08, 2009 at 7:51am
OnTheHill,

You can thank the wonderful Teachers' Union for why the school system can't all-out fire this guy.

They have set up so many protections for bad teachers, the the system would open itself up to a huge lawsuit.

It's not the school system...it's the HUGE and powerful union.

Very sad...
April 08, 2009 at 8:42am
Because the camcorder was made in Japan it is considered interstate/foreign commerce, the federal government has jurisdiction in this child pornography case.

Thats so absurd.
April 08, 2009 at 9:35am
Was the guy full-time with M'boro City Schools? if so, how is it he substitued in Metro on Mar. 26? If anyone has the answer I'd like to know (and please identify your self as I am doing). Contact info below.
Phil Harper
890-0904
pharper@mtsu.edu
April 08, 2009 at 10:20am
City schools were on spring break from March 23rd until April 6th... so he would have been substituting in Metro during our spring break.

April 08, 2009 at 11:36am
You know it takes about 15 seconds to find this guy's myspace profile (which is not hidden). It takes about the same amount of time to realize something is "off".

Background checks are good. But maybe school systems need to take a step further and check out networking sites. It's not a unheard of practice now a days.
April 08, 2009 at 11:42am
Parents do indeed have a responsibility, to talk to their children and take an active role in their lives. When you entrust your kids to a school system that is supposed to have the best interests and well-being of the children at core of thier mission you should expect this kind of thing will not happen. To simply dismiss it by saying "they (meaning the perverts) are everywhere" is, in my opinion abrogating your responsibility as a parent.

When you have a flawed system, you take responsibility and FIX that system. You don't throw up your hands and say, oh well, it's everywhere.
April 08, 2009 at 5:02pm
Yes, Paused, a quick Google or search on Myspace or Facebook would be wise. It's common for employers to check someone's "net presence" nowadays. Let's just hope no younger children were harmed in any fashion. It's bad enough already.

Yes, attagirl is right. Teenagers drinking, smoking weed, and having sex is nothing new. This guy is the problem, not them. What they did was stupid. What he did was criminal.
April 08, 2009 at 9:22pm
i find this the most disgusting thing i have EVER read about. my 3 neighbors were in his 5th grade science class at john pittard elementary and they told me about this today and i just about threw up in my mouth. i dont care if the minors were drunk or high, he provided the alcohol, drugs, condoms, etc. this is very disturbing to know that there is suck sick men and women out there.
January 03, 2010 at 3:03pm
This is still extrememly scary to me because at John Pittard he was our Science teacher who came in once a month.
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