Hilary Sargent

OMG, a woman took sexy photos

Let me get this straight.

Someone found sexy photos online of a 23-year-old teacher. The photos were then sent to both school officials and at least one media outlet, the Sentinel & Enterprise.

This is the news out of Fitchburg yesterday, where special education teacher Kaitlin Pearson has now been put on paid administrative leave, “pending an investigation.”

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She isn’t accused of drunken driving. Or of hitting a child. Or of having inappropriate interactions with a student.

There’s no sex tape. There is no evidence to indicate that Pearson was anything but liked and respected. Once upon a time, she was even an honor roll student at Fitchburg High School.

She now stands accused of having taken photos (posted online), that some deem too sexy. Pearson, it would appear, has been trying some modeling work when she’s not busy working in the Fitchburg public schools. It’s not Vogue magazine. But it’s also not pornography. The photos in question show Pearson dressed in sexy lingerie, or undressed but covering her – gasp! – nipples with her arms.

The Sentinel & Enterprise notes that “nude or semi-nude photographs are not something that would appear” on a Massachusetts criminal record. Wanna know why? BECAUSE NUDE OR SEMI-NUDE PHOTOS AREN’T ILLEGAL.

I wonder if people in Fitchburg would be horrified if their children were to – God forbid – encounter Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bündchen. We regularly see photos of her in a tiny bikini, sometimes far less. She posts them herself. Do the same parents outraged over Pearson’s photos shield their children’s eyes a scantily clad Gisele appears in magazine ads or on Instagram?

Imagine, for a moment, if the Fitchburg schools informed parents that Tom and Gisele were planning a visit to the school.

I’m sure parents would be outraged.

They would race to their computers, and find images like these:

Surely once the school saw these scandalous photos of Gisele they would promptly cancel the event. These innocent schoolchildren shouldn’t be in the presence of a woman who would expose herself in this manner.

But that’s not what would happen, is it.

Because that isn’t how we treat Gisele. It’s how we treat Kaitlin.

Hilary Sargent can be reached at sargent@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilsarg.

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