Curwensville resident April Holley allegedly used Facebook to livestream a private conversation between her and a staff member at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center in March.
Now, she faces charges for interception, disclosure or use of a wire, electric or oral communications which all fall under the wire tap statute.
Dylan Huberman spoke with the Clearfield County District Attorney to unpack this further.
Clearfield County District Attorney Ryan Sayers says that this somewhat unusual social media incident is still punishable under wire tap law.
“It’s not just, you know, soliciting in on a phone call. The wire tap is recording or disseminating somebody’s voice without their approval.”
Sayers says the big question is always where consent is actually necessary.
“The big thing is where do you have an expectation of privacy. So right now, outside, even if I wasn’t talking to the news, if somebody walked by and I was talking to a friend, you have no expectation of privacy in public.”
But with this incident at the CCCTC, there was an expectation that was not reality.
“This woman asked for a private meeting in the school to talk about children and private matters and she proceeded to, without telling the individual, disseminate it, to record it, and put it on Facebook Live, which would be a wire tap, would be an interception of an oral communication.”
He understands the controversy to have stemmed from parent dissatisfaction with the time it is taking to resolve an issue at the school.
“There were issues being resolved or being worked on but it wasn’t being moved fast enough.”
And while Sayers wouldn’t go further as to what the issue was, he says there are similar incidents to go off of here.
“Yeah there, there are different cases around the Commonwealth, around the country, where this kind of thing has happened and charges have been filed. This isn’t the first of its kind.”
Sayers says a court date has not yet been set.