EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 26, 2013

Sexting teacher sent more than 4,000 text messages to students

SUNBURY, Penn. — Michael Zack, 24, of Marion Heights, Penn. a former substitute teacher pleaded guilty in December to a felony count of unlawful contact with a minor and a misdemeanor of corruption of minors.

Zack is the nephew of the Shamokin Area School District Superintendent James T. Zack.

Zack originially was charged with sending approximately 4,300 text messages to two 17-year-old and two 16-year-old girls who attended Shamokin schools at the time. Many of the messages, which were sent between March 15 and Oct. 30, 2011, contained graphic sexual material, police said.

Zack appeared before President Judge Robert Sacavage, who read off a list of accomplishments Zack had achieved. Then the judge lectured him.

“You had reached academic success, and you did an internship for the Northumberland County Juvenile Court Services and you even were a Civil War re-enactor,” Sacavage said. “You hit some high notes and now have become an embarrassment to your family and community.”

Zack was hired as a 180-day substitute teacher in the district in August 2011 and was terminated by the school board in December 2011. He voluntarily signed an affidavit surrendering his teacher’s license, which had been suspended.

Sacavage asked Zack if he agreed with the court’s presentence report and evaluation.

“This says you have a sexual obsession,” Sacavage said.

“I disagree,” Zack said.

Sacavage said sending graphic material to minors was a serious problem.

Zack said that he didn’t necessarily initiate the contact, and Sacavage began to raise his voice.

“Are you telling this court that this is normal activity for someone who is a school teacher?” Sacavage asked.

“No, your honor,” Zack replied.

Sacavage then sentenced Zack to six months of house arrest, three years of intermediate punishment and two years of probation. Zack is not allowed to use a cell phone, a computer with an Internet connection or any form of social media during the probationary term.

“I want to tell the court I am truly sorry for my actions,” Zack told Sacavage. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t regret what has happened.”

Sacavage told Zack he would monitor his progress.

Shamokin school board member Ed Griffiths said the district was short of teachers and Zack was well qualified for the substitute teaching position at the time he was hired by the school district.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Raw: Massive Fire Burns in North Dakota Town Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Latest World News
Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Today in History for July 23rd Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Today in History for July 22nd Raw: Black Boxes of Downed Jetliner Turned Over UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies
Photos of the Week