A Long Island public school teacher is accused of sending sexual photos and videos of her 15-year-old daughter to boys as a way to boost the teen's "self-esteem," prosecutors said at her arraignment on child pornography charges.
Nicole McCloskey, 51, of East Northport, was arraigned March 14 on a 54-count grand jury indictment for use of a child in a sexual performance, promoting and possessing a sexual performance by a child and child endangerment, as reported by Newsday.
McCloskey's Daughter Reported Her After Images Started Circulating Around School
McCloskey, who teaches special education at Western Suffolk BOCES, used her daughter's social media accounts and phone to share the images and communicate with her classmates, prosecutors said.
Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Dana Castaldo told State Supreme Court Justice John Collins that McCloskey's daughter reported the abuse to a school principal and also a counsellor on Feb. 9 after friends made her aware that an image of her posing in a sexually explicit manner in a bikini "began circulating around the victim's school," according to minutes from the proceeding.
Castaldo said that the alleged abuse had been ongoing for three years, since the victim was in sixth grade, and that she was the subject of alleged physical abuse if she did not comply with her mother's directions.
When the teen confronted her mother about the image circulating around school via text message, McCloskey responded, "That's not even a nude, relax," Castaldo told the judge.
McCloskey Directed Daughter in Sexual Poses, Sent Images to Foster Relationships with Boys
When first approached by police Feb. 9, McCloskey allegedly admitted taking the photo to "boost the child's self-esteem and for her to get positive feedback," Castaldo told Collins. After she and her daughter allowed police to search their phones, investigators found more images and videos that showed McCloskey directing her daughter in sexually explicit poses, sometimes exposing her nude body.
In some of the obtained files, McCloskey could be heard pushing her daughter to take things further, Castaldo said. The videos were posted to the social media app Snapchat, Castaldo said.
Investigators also allegedly recovered "many, many sexually explicit text messages" sent by McCloskey to male minors, prosecutors said. McCloskey told police the image that led to her arrest was sent to "foster a relationship with the boy without [her daughter] having to be in a physical, sexual relationship with him," Castaldo said.
McCloskey Faces 15 Years in Prison
McCloskey was arrested on March 14, according to charging documents filed by Suffolk police investigators. She has since been removed from the classroom, BOCES officials said.
"Immediately upon learning of the employee's arrest, Western Suffolk BOCES administratively reassigned her and ensured that she had no further contact with BOCES students and no access to its premises," school spokesperson Nancy Fischetti told Newsday. "We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as it investigates this matter."
McCloskey has been in jail since her arrest. The following day she was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond set by acting State Supreme Court Justice Karen Wilutis, who handles most criminal sex abuse cases in Suffolk County.
The top charge of use of a child in a sexual performance carries a maximum sentence of 3 to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said. In seeking a strict bail package, Castaldo said that if convicted McCloskey could be sentenced to consecutive prison terms for all 21 counts of the top charge.