Charging that she was remotely monitored while naked or partially dressed, another webcam lawsuit has been filed against the Lower Merion School District—this time by Paige Robbins, 18, the sister of Harriton High School student Blake Robbins, who sued the district two years ago for invasion of privacy and other charges, eventually accepting a $175,000 settlement.
The Lower Merion School District (LMSD) fired back immediately Thursday, saying it appeared Paige Robbins purposefully waited until she turned 18 to file the suit as an adult, to win a separate payday of her own.
The suit (attached in PDF form) also names LMSD’s Board of Directors and Superintendent of Schools Christopher W. McGinley as defendants. The list of charges is similar to those made on behalf of Blake Robbins, a case which garnered national attention.
In a filing in U.S. District Court, Paige Robbins’ lawyer, Mary Elizabeth Bogan, asserts that, according to a 2010 deposition given by Lindy Matsko, Harriton’s assistant vice principal, the school district “remotely accessed the webcam feature on the laptop issued to the Plaintiff while she was in the bathroom, or in the nude, or partially dressed or sleeping or in her bedroom in a compromised state.”
In a statement Thursday, the LMSD reacted with outrage to what they call “the epitome of an attempted money-grab and a complete waste of tax dollars.”
The seven-count lawsuit accuses the defendants of interception of electronic communication under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act; theft of intellectual property under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; invasion of privacy (state and federal laws); and violations of the Stored Communications Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act.
LMSD, in its statement, contends that the complaint is “deceptive and misleading, relying on excerpts from a deposition transcript that have been edited to omit key words. A full reading of the complete excerpts—which are included as an attachment to the Complaint—makes this quite clear.”
“A thorough, exhaustive investigation—under supervision of the United States District Judge Jan DuBois, the FBI, and the United States Attorney—determined that no one ever saw a compromising image of Ms. Robbins or anyone else,” the LMSD statement reads. “Indeed, the investigation did not recover any images of Ms. Robbins.
“It should also be noted that this complaint comes nearly two years after the original case was filed. It appears Ms. Robbins simply waited to turn 18 so she could attempt to obtain a payout of her own from LMSD taxpayers. The District will vigorously defend its position and the taxpayers of this community.”
Patch will update this story as more details become available.