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Former teacher charged with sending inappropriate pictures to teens

Former teacher charged with sending inappropriate pictures to teens

A former Stoughton High School teacher and assistant football coach allegedly sent graphic pictures to two teenagers he met while he worked at the school during the last academic year.

Brandon M. Amato, 24, of Madison, admitted that he sent the pictures to a 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl who are current Stoughton students, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

The pictures were sent using Snapchat, a smartphone application that allows users to send messages — including photos and videos — that disappear from the recipients’ device after a few seconds.

Amato was charged with two counts of exposing genitals to a child, each a felony carrying up to 3½ years of combined prison and extended supervision. He was released from jail on a signature bond after appearing in court Wednesday.

Stoughton School District Administrator Tim Onsager said Wednesday that Amato worked as a one-year temporary teacher and coach in the district from Aug. 28, 2013, to June 10, 2014, and was not employed by the district when the events are alleged to have occurred.

Onsager said the district is cooperating with the investigation.

The earliest incident was on June 29, according to the complaint. The 16-year-old girl told police that she knew Amato as a teacher but did not have classes with him. Before June 29, she told police, she only had conversations with him typical of teacher-student interactions.

According to the complaint:

The girl told police she was Facebook friends with Amato and said he began to send messages to her on June 29, asking if she was still awake and wanted to sneak out and meet up with him. She said no, but he continued to send messages, and eventually sent her his Snapchat username.

She added him as a Snapchat friend, and a short time later he sent a clothed picture of himself, and she reciprocated. Then he sent a picture that appeared to show him with his hands down his boxer shorts, and then another of his exposed penis.

A 17-year-old girl who was registering for school on Aug. 19 told a school counselor that she had received inappropriate Snapchat pictures from Amato, who was one of her former teachers, including pictures of his penis.

The girl told police that on Aug. 2 she received a message on Facebook from Amato asking why she hadn’t messaged him and asking her to come over. He sent her Snapchat pictures of his face and penis.

When police contacted Amato on Aug. 28, he initially said he had only sent pictures to people who were 18 or older, but ultimately admitted knowing that the girls were not adults.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, Amato has a teaching license in Wisconsin but it is listed as being under investigation as of Wednesday.

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