A suspended City Honors teacher has been charged with child pornography and attempted and actual sexual exploitation of a child. 59-year-old Peter Hingston of Amherst is being held in federal detention and potentially faces up to 40 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy says students complained to the City Honors administration in June and a police investigation led to his suspension almost immediately.
"It seems incredible that this sort of behavior can occur in our schools. However, I would very much want to commend the students who came forward," Kennedy said.
"Sadly, these days we see so many allegations of abuse across instititutions, institutions that have traditionally held a great deal of trust in our community."
Forensic examination of his camera used in the middle school classroom found 24 different sequences showing Hingston exposing himself or using minor victims in a sexually explicit way. Prosecutors say neither Hingston's home nor his boat have been searched in the course of this investigation.
Defense lawyer Rodney Personius told a court hearing he wants a mental examination of his client.
Thursday night, a parent-teacher night was held at City Honors. Matthew Fisher has three children in the school. He sid there is a lot of talk about the case among parents. After receiving an e-mail from Principal William Kresse, Fisher says it was handled well.
"From the letter that I read, it seems like it was handled appropriately. The teacher was put on leave and it was dealt with," Fisher said. "It's awful to hear as a parent and we hear a lot of it on the news and it's just tragic but it seems like it was dealt with appropriately."
The Buffalo Public Schools issued the following statement on Thursday:
"On June 17th, 2019, students of City Honors School (CHS) reported to school administration that a technology teacher was surreptitiously taking pictures of them in class, which made them uncomfortable.
The principal was informed, called 911, and the Buffalo Public Schools’ Human Resources office immediately placed the teacher on leave. The District cooperated with local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in releasing technology equipment used by the teacher.
Today, we have learned the FBI has made an arrest of the teacher, Peter Hingston. Parents of CHS have been informed about who to contact at the FBI if they believe their child may be a victim. Additional crisis counselors will also be available at the school for the next several days.
We believe it is inexcusable for any person to endanger children through improper behavior. In the event that an allegation of a predatory being is in one of our schools, police will immediately be called and the individual will be removed from school property while an investigation is begun. The uncompromised safety of our students is always our first priority."