Teacher Arrested After Message To Underage Student (There was no “message”)

(RepublicanInformer.com)- Last Tuesday, a high school photography teacher was arrested for allegedly taking nude photos of a teenage girl at his home in Benton City, Washington.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jeff Whiston, 43, over an alleged incident that occurred on April 6. According to court documents, Whiston, who teaches at Chiawana High School offered students free photoshoots to use as “senior photos.”

One 17-year-old agreed to meet Whiston at his home to have her picture taken. According to court documents, the victim chose the outfits herself, including a swimsuit. During the photoshoot, which was done in an exterior shop on Whiston’s property, Whiston allegedly asked the girl to undress completely.

The victim told detectives Whiston allegedly took a series of photos of her as she was undressing, so she tried to stay covered up so she wouldn’t be fully exposed. According to court documents, Whiston even asked the victim if she would go fully nude for the photos, but she declined. He then asked her if she would feel more comfortable doing nude photos after she turned 18.

Detectives detained Whiston at his home and, after informing him of his rights, began to question him in the back of a patrol car. During questioning, Whiston told detectives that he organized and conducted the photoshoot with the girl on April 6. However, he claimed he took pictures of her in a white dress and jean jacket, a two-piece bathing suit, and a black dress and a jean jacket. He finally admitted to detectives that he asked her to pose nude while covering her breasts.

Whiston was booked into the Benton County Jail on suspicion of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

In response to his arrest, the Pasco School District released a statement acknowledging Whiston was arrested in connection to an investigation that began the same day after the district received a complaint from a parent. Whiston was placed on administrative leave that morning and the district reported the complaint to law enforcement. Citing the ongoing investigation, the district referred all questions on the matter to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

Whiston was placed on a 72-hour hold at the Benton County Jail where he was held on $150,000 bail.