Teacher accused of voyeurism had worked at Mater Christi
By Elizabeth Murray
June 27, 2018
|The exterior of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.|
|Brian Lynam plays the piano as the graduates take their seats in the gym during the Rice Memorial High School graduation ceremony at Rice on Sunday June 7, 2015 in South Burlington.|
Photo by BRIAN JENKINS
A Rice Memorial High School teacher accused of surreptitiously photographing a student worked at Mater Christi School before he was hired at Rice, a school official said Tuesday.
The Mater Christi elementary school community added its voice to those expressing shock and sadness after the allegation was made public Monday.
Rice high school's internal investigation is complete, according to a spokeswoman, and music and theater director Brian Lynam, 31, of Burlington, remains on administrative leave. He was suspended on March 20, the same day the Catholic school in South Burlington received a complaint that a staff member was taking inappropriate photos with a cellphone of a student.
South Burlington Police referred to the photos as "up-skirting," a practice defined as taking pictures or video from underneath a girl's or woman's dress or skirt without their knowledge.
Lynam was issued a citation to appear in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington on April 12. Police expect him to be charged with voyeurism.
Attempts to reach Lynam since Monday have been unsuccessful. South Burlington police Cpl. Ron Bliss said Lynam has retained a lawyer, but he did not know who is representing the teacher.
Bliss said Lynam does not appear to have any criminal history in Vermont. A check of records at Vermont Superior Court in Burlington shows no criminal history in Chittenden County.
Police confirmed Tuesday that the criminal case involves one victim. The school had said it believed there were multiple victims.
According to Bliss, police believe that Lynam photographed a 17-year-old female Rice student. On Tuesday, he said "there are no other victims."
A letter to the Rice community from Interim Principal Lisa Lorenz on Monday stated that Lynam was suspected of "taking inappropriate photos of Rice female students along with other females outside of the Rice community without their knowledge."
'Saddened and devastated'
Tim Loescher, the president and head of school at Mater Christi School in Burlington, said Lynam worked as the music teacher at Mater Christi from 2011 to 2013. In that position, Lynam worked with children from kindergarten to eighth grade. When asked if the school ever received any complaints about Lynam, Loescher said, "Absolutely not."
Loescher said that some former Mater Christi students move on to attend Rice High School, and that his community has also been "saddened and devastated" by the allegations against Lynam.
"Because of the nature of the allegations, this kind of sick feeling in our stomach as we think about the many students who have matriculated from here onto Rice," Loescher said. "Those are our kids, so we care about them deeply. Whenever something like this happens, you're deeply troubled for both sides."
Christy Bahrenburg, Rice's director of Advancement and Communications, said the school provided its internal investigation information to the South Burlington Police Department. She declined further comment on Lynam's history with the school, saying it was a personnel issue.
"The parent response (the principal) has gotten has been extremely supportive and very sad that we're in this situation, shock of course ... and also sad that the school, the students, the faculty and the administration is going through this," Bahrenburg said. She added that parents have also been "willing to help in whatever way possible."
Ellen Kane, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, also declined to comment on the case in an email, Tuesday.
"The matter is in the hands of the authorities and we have no comment at this time about the investigation," Kane wrote.
When asked about hiring practices, both Bahrenburg and Kane said the school follows all state and federal guidelines when hiring school employees. Kane added that this includes federal background checks and finger-printing requirements.
The Diocese's website also shows that employees undergo background checks every five years, and that annually, employees must complete a "Safe and Sacred" online course, read the diocesan "Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry" and sign the Diocese's Code of Conduct.
Attempts to reach the program director in the Diocese to comment on the "Safe and Sacred" program were not immediately successful on Tuesday.
This story will be updated.