A Washington state high school teacher was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly taking nude photos of a teenage girl at his home.
Jeff Whiston, 43, is listed as a commercial photography instructor at Chiawana High School and according to police documents, a female student under the age of 17 agreed to join Whiston at his home for a photoshoot on April 6 where the alleged incident occurred. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said that Whiston offers students free photo shoots that resemble 'senior photos.'
According to court documents, the victim chose the outfits herself, one of which featured a swimsuit. The photo session took place in an external shop on Whiston's Benton City property. Whiston allegedly asked the student to undress entirely during the photo shoot. According to court documents, the victim felt compelled to undress because the shop's door was shut, KOMO News reports.
Whiston is accused of allegedly photographing the woman while she was nude. The underage girl told detectives she was covering up so she wouldn't be entirely exposed in the photos. According to court filings, Whiston asked whether she would go entirely naked, but she declined. Whiston is said to have then questioned her if she would feel more at ease doing so when she reached 18.
Whiston was detained by detectives at his home Tuesday night. He admitted that the photo shoot occurred but asked to have legal representation when detectives pressed him for further details, according to KOMO News.
The Pasco School District released the following statement:
"Pasco School District has learned that district employee Jeffrey Whiston was arrested Tuesday night by the Benton County Sherriff's Office on charges related to illegal conduct with a minor. The investigation began Tuesday after the district received a report from a concerned parent. Mr. Whiston was placed on administrative leave Tuesday morning in accordance with standard district procedure and the report was made to law enforcement. If true, these allegations represent a breach of our trust and a disappointing departure from our standards for all district employees. The safety of our students is the highest priority of our school and district staff members. Because this is an open investigation, this is the only information Pasco School District will be providing at this time. Media outlets should direct any further questions to the Benton County Sheriff's Office."
Whiston was booked into the Benton County Jail for suspicion of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. On Wednesday he appeared in Benton County District Court and his bail was set at $150,000.
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