Danielle Gannon, a freshman criminal justice and business major at Bloomsburg University was surprised to find her 8am class cancelled on Friday, February 16, 2018. Gannon had received no notification from her professor, Scott Lowe, or from the University as to why the cancellation had occurred. It wasn’t until a friend sent her an article that Gannon knew about the situation.
Scott Lowe, a Philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University was taken into police custody on February 15, 2018. He was charged with four counts of possessing child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
According to the town police’s arrest report, Samuel Josuweit, Manager of Network Services at Bloomsburg University, informed the University Police on February 5,2018 that after a routine audit Lowe’s computer, “was found to have alarming malware associated with his internet usage of the Bloomsburg University network.”
The malware was from an image on Lowe’s computer of a young pre-teen girl sitting on the floor in her underwear. This prompted Network Services to further search Lowe’s computer.
17 questionable images were found and four met the criteria for Pennsylvania Crimes Code’s definition of child pornography. Bloomsburg University then handed the investigation over to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
The Affiant, Gordon R. Goodrow, is a Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Goodrow headed the investigation and with his experience in these crimes, he has stated that he believes Lowe may possess more images other than the ones found on his university desktop.
Bail has been set at $250,000 and Lowe will have a preliminary hearing on February 28, 2018 at 11 a.m.
There have been questions as to whether or not these images could have been planted without Lowe’s knowledge but Network Services staff said this is not possible. Lowe had antivirus software running on his computer and the pornographic images were manually worked with on different dates and different times, meaning they were being accessed intentionally.
Steve Hales, the head of the Philosophy department, expressed his disbelief for the situation, “It seemed like it must be some kind of disturbing mistake which I couldn’t understand.” Hales was a friend to Lowe and, like many who knew him, could not understand what was happening. Lowe was known to be easy to get along with, reliable and was a very popular professor. Lowe enjoyed hanging out with his friends and playing pub trivia, according to Hales. Everyone’s impression of him was that he was a normal guy.
Miranda Jacobs is a senior Psychology major who was taking introduction to Philosophy with Lowe. “I heard a lot of stories about this guy about him being really nice and just very family oriented. So, I went into this class already knowing it was going to be a really nice professor,” she said.
The Philosophy department has done what they can to make the situation easier for Lowe’s students. His classes have been taken over by other professors who will be using the same texts and syllabuses. Students still have their concerns though, since they’ve already become accustomed to Lowe’s teaching style.
Many students have also said they never received notification that any of this was happening. Classes were cancelled for Friday with no email to students and when they showed up for class on Monday they found unfamiliar professors teaching the class.
“We got an e-mail, the same e-mail everyone else did about how something happened with one of the professors. And I looked down the e-mail it said like there was a hotline for like sexual harassment, and like stuff like that. I was like oh no what happened? I looked it up and I was like wow their face is familiar. Oh, that’s Scott Lowe, that’s my philosophy professor,” says Shay Polec, a senior Psychology major.
Anna Jaskiewicz, a sophomore English major and Philosophy minor, is a commuter
to Bloomsburg University. Jaskiewicz expressed frustration with the lack of communication since that was her only class for the day.
Students, faculty and the University as a whole are still reeling from the events of this past week. Bloomsburg University is offering psychological counseling for students who feel affected by this event.“I’d like to get that word out that we’re here to take care of the students. We want to make sure that their needs are met,” says Hales.
More information will be available after Lowe’s hearing on February 28, 2018.