Vt. Teacher Denies Taking Photo Up Teen Girl's Skirt

A Chittenden County educator denied accusations he violated the trust and privacy of a 17-year-old girl at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, Vermont.

The attorney for 31-year-old Brian Lynam of Burlington entered a not guilty plea to a voyeurism charge Thursday.

A student at the private Catholic school told the campus resource officer last month he saw Lynam, a music teacher, secretly trying to stretch his cell phone camera toward the buttocks of the girl as she walked up stairs in a skirt — Lynam following behind her.

Police said surveillance footage from inside the school shows the suspect trailing the student, with his cell phone illuminated, into a stairwell. There was not a camera trained on the stairs where the inappropriate photograph was allegedly snapped, according to police paperwork.

Rice Memorial High School placed Lynam on administrative leave last month.

The school declined to speak with necn Thursday, saying it had no further comment at this time.

Last month, Rice said it was focusing on assisting students and other staff through a stressful time following the shocking accusations.

In investigative paperwork made public after Thursday morning's hearing, detectives wrote that evidence from Lynam's phone shows he was likely trying to take pictures of girls at Rice on a regular basis. That evidence included other photos taken from odd angles that police said matched the interior of Rice Memorial High School's hallways and stairwells.

South Burlington officers said that in an interview with them, the music teacher claimed he took no such photos.

After securing a search warrant, detectives said they found hard drives and other devices that allegedly contained pictures peering up girls' skirts and with close-ups of their bodies in tights. Investigators did not specify in paperwork filed with the court where those stored files of girls came from.

Police also documented a 2014 journal entry from Lynam which they said they found in their search of his home. In the diary, police said Lynam described needing to talk to a therapist — writing of a "fetish for voyeur situations," and adding, "I keep track of all sightings that arouse me sexually — many documented by date and time."

Cathleen Barkley heads HOPEWorks, a Burlington-based nonprofit that advocates for survivors of sexual crimes and works to end sexual violence. She spoke with necn about the case last month.

"I hope that they're able to find support in each other and in the broader community and in their families," Barkley said of any potential victims of alleged voyeurism by Lynam. "And that people are believing their stories and lending them support and really condemning these actions so they don't feel like they're alone or at fault in any way."

The teacher pleaded not guilty to one charge of voyeurism, and the court ordered him to stay away from the Rice campus and from the alleged victim.

Lynam and his defense attorney, Paul Volk, both declined to comment to necn as they left the courtroom Thursday — refusing to respond to a question about whether the teacher planned to resign his job.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington said it will continue cooperating with law enforcement, should officers need any more help in their investigation.

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