Scott Lowe was sentenced to 1-2 years in prison on Thursday, Sept. 27 after being arrested in February for possessing child pornography.Lowe, a former Philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University, was taken directly to the country prison after his sentencing on Thursday.
In February, multiple pornographic images were found on Lowe’s computer in his office in Bakeless during a routine campus computer check. The images included children under 18 years of age. Lowe was then arrested at his home and suspended by Bloomsburg University.
Lowe retired a few days after being suspended after teaching at Bloomsburg for 31 years. He pled guilty in June to four counts related to his possession of child pornography, and his sentencing was scheduled to take place in 90 days or more as the judge presiding over the case awaited a report from the state sexual offenders assessment board.
The actions of the former professor sent waves throughout Bloomsburg University, as Lowe was beloved by many faculty, staff, and students. The consequences of his actions, however, were felt specifically in his own former department.
Dr. Wendy Lee, who has been teaching Philosophy at Bloomsburg for 27 years, recounted when the department faculty found out about the situation, noting how shocked they all were to discover this about their good friend; “I don’t even have words to describe the day this all came down,” she said.Lee remembers the day that her and her colleagues were called into a meeting to discuss what happened to Lowe, initially believing that there was some sort of emergency: “I thought something bad had happened to him or someone in his family” she said.
Upon learning the real reason behind Lowe’s absence, Lee recalls that everyone present sat in silence for a moment in a state of shock. “He was like everyone’s dad,” said Lee, “his students loved him and he was a really good teacher.”
Lowe’s actions particularly affected the department due to how tightly-knit the faculty there are, according to Lee, who at one point even shared an office with Lowe during her first years teaching at Bloomsburg before a wall was put up dividing their two offices. “I felt betrayal,” she said, describing her reaction to the news in greater detail.
Not only were the faculty emotionally affected, but they also had to take on all of Lowe’s classes upon his arrest. Lee describes that she was already overloaded in the amount of work she was taking on last semester, and she and other faculty had to then pick up courses from Lowe that some of them didn’t specialize in.
“He did irrecoverable damage to us as a department,” said Lee, “which is nothing compared to the damage he has done to his family.”
In reaction to Lowe’s sentencing, Lee noted that “he’s incredibly lucky; he has a pretty light sentence considering the crime that he committed. He also gets work release,” she said, “meaning he gets time outside of prison.”
Lee further commented on the leniency of Lowe’s sentence, emphasizing that he likely received such a light sentence due to his status. “This is not the sentence someone would receive if they were poor, or black,” she said, “He may not yet know how lucky he is.”
Similar to Dr. Lee, sophomore Philosophy major Patrick Halye believes that Lowe’s sentence is far too lenient for the crimes that he committed, saying he believes that Lowe should have gotten many more than one to two years.
Halye, who recently became a Philosophy major, was not sure what to expect from the department after being shocked by the situation last February. “I thought there might be a lot of focus on diverting attention from it but there really isn’t,” he said, “the department is fantastic and I don’t let this negate my view on it.”
The most important part of this issue to remember, according to Lee, is that this goes far beyond the pictures found on Lowe’s computer and connects to a much larger industry. Anyone who downloads these types of pictures, Lee explains, contributes to a billion-dollar industry of trafficking and exploiting that can destroy the lives of young children.
In closing on this issue, Lee stated that she hopes Lowe “feels ashamed” and seeks therapy.
“I don’t think I can ever look at him in the face again,” she said, “that guy was like my older brother, and I feel like I never knew him.”
Bloomsburg University declined to comment on the situation.