The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

February 26, 2013

Sexting teacher sent more than 4,000 text messages to students

SUNBURY, Penn. — Michael Zack, 24, of Marion Heights, Penn. a former substitute teacher pleaded guilty in December to a felony count of unlawful contact with a minor and a misdemeanor of corruption of minors.

Zack is the nephew of the Shamokin Area School District Superintendent James T. Zack.

Zack originially was charged with sending approximately 4,300 text messages to two 17-year-old and two 16-year-old girls who attended Shamokin schools at the time. Many of the messages, which were sent between March 15 and Oct. 30, 2011, contained graphic sexual material, police said.

Zack appeared before President Judge Robert Sacavage, who read off a list of accomplishments Zack had achieved. Then the judge lectured him.

“You had reached academic success, and you did an internship for the Northumberland County Juvenile Court Services and you even were a Civil War re-enactor,” Sacavage said. “You hit some high notes and now have become an embarrassment to your family and community.”

Zack was hired as a 180-day substitute teacher in the district in August 2011 and was terminated by the school board in December 2011. He voluntarily signed an affidavit surrendering his teacher’s license, which had been suspended.

Sacavage asked Zack if he agreed with the court’s presentence report and evaluation.

“This says you have a sexual obsession,” Sacavage said.

“I disagree,” Zack said.

Sacavage said sending graphic material to minors was a serious problem.

Zack said that he didn’t necessarily initiate the contact, and Sacavage began to raise his voice.

“Are you telling this court that this is normal activity for someone who is a school teacher?” Sacavage asked.

“No, your honor,” Zack replied.

Sacavage then sentenced Zack to six months of house arrest, three years of intermediate punishment and two years of probation. Zack is not allowed to use a cell phone, a computer with an Internet connection or any form of social media during the probationary term.

“I want to tell the court I am truly sorry for my actions,” Zack told Sacavage. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t regret what has happened.”

Sacavage told Zack he would monitor his progress.

Shamokin school board member Ed Griffiths said the district was short of teachers and Zack was well qualified for the substitute teaching position at the time he was hired by the school district.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Free Press news updates
Seasonal Content
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong