Authorities are investigating the husband of a member of the board of trustees of the Episcopal School of St. Martin over allegations that he installed cameras in the couple’s home in River Ridge to spy on international students of the Honduras that the couple welcomed, according to several sources familiar with the situation. .
As a result of the investigation, board member Amy Goodman was forced to resign from her post on the Metairie private school board last week, the president of the Metairie confirmed on Tuesday. organization, Patrick Comer.
Although Comer declined to comment on any investigation into the house Goodman shares with her husband, Patrick Goodman, he added, “Our main job is to protect the safety of our students and our community. … We fully cooperate with the investigation of the police.
He added: “We are shocked and horrified to learn of this, especially since it is about a family that was volunteering for St. Martin’s as part of the International Student Host Program. “
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office captain Jason Rivarde, a spokesperson for the agency, confirmed the investigation on Tuesday, but said he could not provide any details.
“We have an ongoing investigation and for the sanctity of this investigation, we would decline to comment at this time,” Rivarde said. “We have not made any arrests and we are actively investigating. “
The investigation was triggered after law enforcement received information about at least one camera found in a room where students are staying.
The information led Jefferson Parish detectives to the Goodmans’ home in River Ridge earlier this month with a search warrant. The sheriff’s office declined to say anything about what might have been found or confiscated in the house, but a lawyer for Amy Goodman, 65, said various digital equipment had been removed.
Members of the St. Martin’s board of directors discovered the investigation soon after. Within a week, the school had removed Amy Goodman’s name from a list of board members posted on its website.
Sources familiar with the case say the potential crime under investigation is the rarely used law on “video voyeurism”, a criminal sex crime in which a person uses a recording device to capture footage. of another person without their consent “for obscene or lascivious purposes. . “
In many cases, anyone convicted of video voyeurism faces a maximum of two years in prison and must register as a sex offender.
Contacted by phone Tuesday, Patrick Goodman said: “Unfortunately, I cannot comment. Thank you.”
Amy Goodman, for her part, said: “I have absolutely no comment.”
For about five years, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Metairie has sponsored two students each year from a school in Tela, Honduras, to study in St. Martin’s, whose campus on Green Acres Road accommodates approximately 470 students. Kindergarten to Grade 12. .
The Goodmans have hosted many participating students, including one last year.
For some adult children, the thought of a parent moving home can be stressful. That was not the case, however, for Amy Goodman of River Ridge, who …
This year, a Honduran student attending St. Martin as part of the international studies program was staying with a family other than the Goodmans. The Goodmans nevertheless befriended her and invited her to visit him on or around November 12.
During this visit, the student found a camera in the room where students typically stay, and the device appeared to be streaming footage, recording it, or both, according to multiple sources with insight into the investigation. The sources said the girl took the memory card from the camera and – after chatting with other adults – decided to turn it over to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over River Ridge. .
Amy Goodman, a bank executive, and her husband, a mechanical engineer, have hired separate attorneys, which is not uncommon in a case like this. Patrick Goodman’s attorney, Dylan Utley, said he couldn’t comment at such an early stage in the case.
Amy Goodman’s attorney, Jeffrey Smith, confirmed that MPs later served a search warrant at the Goodmans’ home and confiscated various digital equipment. Smith said the couple had cameras that could show “their whole house, even the living room,” but declined to elaborate further.
Amy Goodman’s resignation from the St. Martin board of directors isn’t the only notable change in the wake of the sheriff’s office investigation.
St. Augustine, which is not affiliated with the Catholic school of the same name in New Orleans, cleared its website Monday night of all mentions of Patrick Goodman, also 65. Goodman had run a church pumpkin patch for years in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
He was there as recently as Halloween eve, helping the church sell the last of its pumpkins. When October of this year arrived, the website was calling for volunteers at the pumpkin patch and asking them to call Patrick Goodman.
Website administrators also removed a number of updates that listed Patrick Goodman as a usher for Sunday services. Those same updates had listed some of the Honduran boys and girls who had gone to St. Martin’s as part of the international studies program as lay readers or servant priests.
St. Augustine officials did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on the investigation on Tuesday. One person who picked up the phone from the church said there was no one to discuss it.
Elaine Jacobsen, wearing gardening gloves and firmly holding the handles of a wheelbarrow full of bright orange pumpkins, glistened with…