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Ex-Brighton High choir teacher charged regarding texts, porn

Published August 16, 2012 1:45 pm

Courts • Police say "inappropriate communications" with student triggered investigation.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former Brighton High School choir teacher faces several misdemeanor charges for alleged inappropriate texting involving a male student, sexual solicitation and possession of pornography on school property.

Steven Richard Smith, 39, was charged Thursday in the Holladay Municipal Justice Court with the class B misdemeanor counts, which allege that between March 2011 and Feb. 2 of this year he made "repeated contact by means of electronic communications" with the intention of harassing the student.

The sexual solicitation charge also involved alleged incidents where Smith allegedly offered the 17-year-old boy unspecified "opportunities" in exchange for sex.

"We were made aware of recent inappropriate communications between a teacher and one of his students and investigated," said Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Gary Young. "Canyons School District voluntarily surrendered two computers [used by the teacher] and pornographic images were found. The images themselves were not illegal for an adult but are when they are found on school property."

Young said the pornography apparently was limited to the teacher's computers. "The porn was not related to the texting," he said, but confirmed the content of the texts was deemed by city prosecutors to "support the charges."

Young declined to further detail the case, including the alleged relationship between the teacher and the student.

Canyons School District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook confirmed that Smith, who had joined the Brighton High faculty in December 1999, resigned on Feb. 15 of this year.

"We have fully cooperated with Cottonwood Heights police in this investigation," she said, declining further comment.

Smith has been ordered to appear in court Sept. 12.

remims@sltrib.com