A former Kansas elementary-school teacher who took hundreds of “sexually motivated” cellphone pictures of one of his fourth-grade students has been found guilty of reckless stalking.
It didn’t take long for a jury to convict 59-year-old James Loganbill on Wednesday after his now 12-year-old victim told the court she still suffers nightmares and is “kind of scared of men now,” the Kansas City Star reports.
Loganbill—who is said to have openly admitted to investigators last year that he was “obsessed” with his then-10-year-old student and became especially fixated on her when she wore black leggings to class—faces up to a year in jail and a fine at his Nov. 3 sentencing.
But his stalking campaign against the fourth-grade student seems to have caused much more long-lasting damage. In fact, it was so disturbing to some Kansas lawmakers that the state’s legislature upgraded the crime earlier this year to ensure that “reckless stalking” carries more jail time.
Loganbill’s conviction this week caps off a saga that began in the spring of 2020, when the young girl’s mother, Kristyn Antonucci, noticed that her fourth-grade daughter seemed shaken after class at Meadow Lane Elementary School in Olathe.
In an interview with local news outlet KSHB late last year, Antonucci said her daughter let her know as soon as she got in the car that something had “happened” at school that day.
Once home, the 10-year-old dropped a bombshell.
“[Her friends] had been seeing their fourth-grade teacher taking inappropriate pictures of her backside anytime she wasn’t looking, anytime she tied her shoe, anytime she grabbed something at her desk,” Antonucci told KSHB.
“And they had been noticing that behavior for months.”
The school soon confirmed to the parents that they were investigating allegations of Loganbill taking “inappropriate” pictures.
“We’re just both bawling,” Antonucci said. “And we’re like, ‘How? How can this be? How can someone see her like this? She’s a kid; she looks like a kid.’”
Loganbill resigned from the school in the wake of the allegations and had his teaching license revoked.
During the police investigation, authorities said they found 230 photos and 31 videos of the student on Loganbill’s personal cellphone and the iPad issued to him by the school district. Olathe Police detective William King testified during the trial that Loganbill had also searched on YouTube for videos of the girl, who took part in competitive dancing, and that he had searched for porn involving teachers having sex with students.
While Loganbill was never accused of sexual contact with the girl, court documents in Johnson County say the former teacher admitted to investigators that “he did have an attraction to (the girl) and it happened when she wore black leggings or dancing pants.”
In one of the videos found on his devices, police also said Loganbill had “had (her) pose by lifting her leg up to her head while wearing black tights.”
Loganbill is said to have admitted to police that his actions were “dumb, just dumb.”
But comments from his defense attorney, Carl Cornwell, seem to suggest that he was more remorseful about the girl finding out about his stash of photos than about taking the photos in the first place.
“He feels so sorry for his family, he feels so sorry for this young girl,” Cornwell said in comments to KSHB. “He said, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t mean for her to know, I didn’t want her to know, and now look what I’ve done.’”