South Jersey teacher, jailed for making upskirt videos, must pay his victims

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Adam L. Mayr, 39, a former English teacher at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Deptford, NJ, surreptitiously took upskirt videos of female students using a pen-like camera. Sentenced to a 10-year term in August 2017, he has settled a civil judgment requiring him to pay six of his victims.

When her high school English teacher called her to his desk for an alleged disciplinary problem, the student became suspicious. He was holding an ink pen in a strange manner.

When she returned to her desk, the teenager did a quick internet search and found a site showing a photo of what appeared to be the same object her teacher was holding: a pen-like camera.

Her attorney says it was the same device the teacher used to secretly record upskirt videos of dozens of females for years at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Deptford.

Attorneys involved in the case say they reached an agreement this week on a civil judgment against the former teacher, Adam Mayr, 39, of Washington Township. In August, Mayr pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct and invasion of privacy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He  must serve at least five years before he is eligible for parole.

Mayr has agreed to pay $10,000  to each of six victims who filed a lawsuit against him, said Michael J. McKenna, one of their attorneys. The judgment may be difficult to collect, but attorneys refused to “let Mayr off the hook,” he said.

“As long as he understands he won’t get a pension until he pays all of these girls,” McKenna said in an interview Tuesday. “I just wasn’t going to quit.”

The video recordings were discovered after the student reported her suspicions to school officials. A second student reported the same observations to her mother and police were notified the next day, McKenna said. Police confiscated Mayr’s computer and the camera disguised as a pen, he said.

“We place implicit trust in teachers to educate, not exploit, our children,” said Richard Grungo, an attorney who represents four of the victims. “He targeted these girls.”

Mayr singled out “the prettiest girls,” calling them up to his desk supposedly for disciplinary problems, McKenna said. While the girls stood there, he used the pen camera, attached to papers on his desk or lap, to photograph up their skirts, he said. Mayr would also stand over the girls and use the pen to photograph their blouses, the lawyer said.

The six former students reached a separate settlement totaling $660,000 with the Gloucester County Institute of Technology in a federal lawsuit that charged that school officials should have known about Mayr’s behavior. That settlement will be paid by the district’s insurance carrier. Mayr had been an English teacher and coach at the school since 2002.

“It’s certainly very sad for our students and our school district,”  Superintendent Mike Dickens said Wednesday. He declined further comment, citing possible additional lawsuits.  The four-year vocational-technical public high school enrolls about 1,300 students.

Mayr surrendered his teaching credentials last summer. The status of  his pension could not be determined. A state treasury spokesman declined comment. The district’s attorney, Jay Branderbit, did not return a message left at his law office.

Mayr, who was arrested in March 2015, had been secretly recording the video on school property for about two years, authorities said. The images were stored on a school laptop, authorities said. While employed at the school, Mayr also coached the girls’ freshman volleyball team and was an assistant coach of the boys’ varsity tennis team.

At least 24 victims, most about 14 years old, were identified, but many girls could not be identified in the photographs, McKenna said. Investigators found links for thousands of pornographic websites when they searched his computer, McKenna said. Many of the victims are now in college and some refuse to be alone with male professors, he said.

McKenna, whose firm represents two victims, said he wants to keep the case in the public to encourage more girls to come forward to lodge civil charges against Mayr. The attorneys are gathering additional evidence and combing police records and may file additional lawsuits on behalf of more victims.

“What is disturbing is that we know that there are many more victims,” Grungo said.  “This went on for years.”

Mayr’s attorney, Annmarie Jensen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said the case remains active and anyone with information about other possible victims should contact Detective Greg Malesich in the Major Crimes Unit at 856-384-5500.