BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The case of a former teacher accused of taking lewd pictures of his students will continue a while longer.
Peter Hingston pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in June.
He was back in court Tuesday morning, but he is still waiting to be sentenced.
A "status conference" for former City Honors teacher, Peter Hingston took place, in federal court at the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse.
Hingston's attorney, along with the attorney from the U.S. District Court discussed the need for more time to review newly submitted evidence.
The U.S. attorney also wanted to take time to do an independent mental health evaluation on Hingston, after his lawyer used it in this case.
City Honors graduate, Valerie Juang told Pheben Kassahun that the mental health argument concerns her because she said, suffering from a mental illness does not keep one from knowing the difference between right and wrong. In this particular case, she said this was simply abuse.
Note: After this piece aired, it was learned that the reference of mental illness in this case was not downplaying its effect on people. After speaking with Juang, she stated that she was referencing Buffalo attorney Lynn King's argument, stating "that mental illness does in extreme situations, affect understanding of right and wrong, but does not apply in this case because Hingston himself said he continued because he thought he wouldn’t get caught."
"It is a part of the abuse process to put yourself into a position of power, where you can abuse young girls. That is part of the abuse process. It's not something that you wake up one day and accidentally do. It's something that he chose to do everyday. He came into that position. He stayed in that position and he continued to abuse girls in many ways. Not just in the outright physical touching way or the pictures way; just being extremely disrespectful and uncomfortable towards all of these girls," Juang said.
Juang graduated from City Honors, in 2020.
She said she never had Hingston as a teacher but she was a member of his Rocket Club, where she said he would isolate the girls from the boys. He reportedly abused her friends.
She and her peers have been working to bring increased awareness to this case.
Her peers have had the support of King, who has created this Facebook page to share updates on the case:
Juang said, "These girls may not have known at the time that was abuse, and they may have discovered that later but you have to understand that they are children. Facing abuse is difficult for anyone. For a child to see that and a trusted adult that they thought they could trust."
"Because this was an ongoing legal situation, they couldn't go to teachers that they still trusted because they weren't allowed to talk. Now, you have this whole group of kids that doesn't trust adults, doesn't have faith in the system," one mother told Kassahun.
The parent, who asked that 7 News not use her name or show her face, shared that both of her daughters had Hingston as their 7th grade technology teacher, but at different times.
She said one of her daughters sees a counselor to discuss the trauma she endured.
"He definitely did traumatize her. She had him the year before he was arrested and during that year, she said some things to me that seemed off, but not enough for me to take any action. For example, she said, 'Mom, Mr. Hingston always tells me I'm pretty, or Mom, my picture is up in front of Mr. Hingston's classroom. He said I'm student of the week but it's been up for months," she explained. "He, at one point, shoved her. She told us recently, 'It was so much worse than I said I had a huge bruise across my back but I was just embarrassed. I thought people wouldn't believe me."
As the court developments are being brought up, the mother said this is opening up new wounds for her daughter.
"We talked about it. It was like she was just beginning to get a scab from the initial wound. This sentencing and the realization that he may only go to jail for seven years, tore the scab off," the mother said. "She still hasn't really disclosed to anyone everything that happened to her. She is not comfortable doing so."
"I feel like I missed an opportunity to protect her and maybe I could have protected the other kids, where you know things happen to them after that," the mother said.
To her knowledge, her daughter does not appear on any of the video evidence.
She said the seven years of prison time his attorney is seeking, is not enough.
"What those children experienced and it's on video. There is no question that it happened. There is no question that it happened. I think the rest of his life," the mother said.
Peter Hingston is due back in court oon September 29 for another status conference.