PowerPoint to porn: Rep. is shocked

All State Rep. Matt Barrett was trying to do was explain to a group of Norwalk High School seniors how a bill becomes law. When the image from the PowerPoint presentation popped up, Barrett could not believe his eyes; the image of a naked woman had appeared on the screen. He quickly unplugged the system. "It took a second to realize 'Wow what's going on here,'" Barrett said. "I immediately apologized."
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


All State Rep. Matt Barrett was trying to do was explain to a group of Norwalk High School seniors how a bill becomes law.

When the image from the PowerPoint presentation popped up, Barrett could not believe his eyes; the image of a naked woman had appeared on the screen. He quickly unplugged the system.

"It took a second to realize 'Wow what's going on here,'" Barrett said. "I immediately apologized."

Barrett, a Democrat who covers the 58th district, which includes all of Huron County, didn't stop there.

School officials called the Norwalk Police Department, which notified the state Highway Patrol because Barrett is a state representative. Barrett said he voluntarily handed the computer over to troopers, who are sending it to Columbus to determine what might have happened.

Barrett stressed nobody was subpoenaed and no warrants were issued. He said he voluntarily handed over the computer because he wanted to find out what happened.

"We're trying to do everything to try to get this wrapped up," Barrett said, calling the image "totally inappropriate."

Principal Bob Duncan described Barrett as apologetic and embarrassed about the incident. Duncan called the incident regrettable and unfortunate.

"I think he was as surprised, if not more (so), than the students. He was extremely embarrassed," Duncan said. "Mr. Barrett was extremely cooperative in (this) matter."

Duncan and Norwalk City Schools Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said Barrett didn't check the thumb drive, obtained through a state agency, before Tuesday morning's incident.

Barrett said he has given a similar presentation about a bill becoming law about 30 times, but this was the first time he did it as a PowerPoint. He saw the equipment for a PowerPoint was available in the classroom, so he decided to use it.

First, he placed the thumb drive into his laptop, but the screen went blank. Barrett said the same thing happened when he hooked his laptop to the school's projector. Finally, he tried the teacher's laptop.

"And then the very inappropriate image displayed," Barrett said.

The state lawmaker said he got the thumb drive from a state library liaison, who gave an identical one to his legislative aide, Jennifer Koperdak. Barrett believes Koperdak had nothing to do with the inappropriate image.

"I would be shocked (if she did). I'm confident that she doesn't have anything to do with this," he said.

Babcanec spoke to Barrett after he finished his presentation to Derek Pigman's three senior social studies classes without the use of the computer. The state lawmaker used the papers he brought him that were to be supplemented by the PowerPoint.

"My daughter was in the class," Duncan said. "She felt very bad for Mr. Barrett. She thought it was unintentional.

"I heard it was very quiet," the principal said about students' reactions to the image. "Some kids didn't even see it."

Duncan said his daughter was more concerned about Barrett being embarrassed than the three seconds the picture was on the screen.

After the incident, Duncan contacted a majority of the parents. "Some of them are returning my calls, because they were working (Tuesday)," he added.

Babcanec said it was important to contact parents as soon as possible, so they could hear about the incident from school officials instead of through the media.

"Most of the parents have been appreciate of being contacted," he added.

The superintendent called it imperative to have future guest speakers' information previewed before they do a presentation. He said that process now will be more difficult because teachers earlier only had to review paper materials.

"We'll be looking at flash drives and computer discs," Babcanec said, saying Barrett has been cooperative with the school and police since the incident.

"I haven't heard anything from the authorities. Once they got involved, they took over the investigation," Babcanec said.

The memory stick, along with a school computer used Tuesday, were taken into custody and were being examined, said patrol spokesman Lt. Tony Bradshaw.

Barrett said authorities inspected his computer, the teacher's and took statement from most of class members. He said he's "very concerned" about what happened.


Beth (Anonymous)

Kids that age I'm sure have seen that stuff. It looks like an accident. I hope the guy doesn't get in trouble for something unintentional like that.

Bill (Anonymous)

Be careful what you put on your computer!

Kid (Anonymous)

Maybe he was down the street at JFS before he came to the school.

Confused (Anonymous)

Will they be offering conseling to all the children affected?

I blame (Anonymous)

the Brandts and I heard the picture was an Amish girl on heroin.

Rosie Palm (Ano...

He shouldn't get in trouble, I would hope not anyway. I'm sure the culprit will be caught~and hung before a judge, jury and a slew of executioners of Reflector readers. Glad it ain't me!

ORC (Anonymous)

With all the awful news these days about disgusting pedophiles, along with stories about Larry Craig, Barney Frank, and Mark Foley, along with the homosexual agenda saturating popular culture, I am thrilled to see an average guy get into trouble because he likes adult women. It is refreshing to see such qualities in a politician.

YEs (Anonymous)

at least he is not one of the many homosexuals that seem rampant in this area.

Rosie Palm (Ano...

Well said ORC.

Im sure (Anonymous)

I,m sure sure as senoirs in this day and age, internet , etc, most have seen some of nude pics before. Most of the kids are prolly laughing their butts off!!!!

Vanessa Ousley ...

I can't believe they even made this incident into a story on the front page of the reflector. I think this is absolutly rediculous the steps they are taking for the picture of the "naked lady." They are seniors not first graders. I am sure at their age most if not all have seen a naked women. Let it go!

smalltowner (An...

It's not just the reflector. It made the Cleveland news last night too! I will wait to see the outcome on this one.

FORMER norwalk ...

Of course this is the only excitment in the entire city if norwalk! I graduated NHS is '05. Beleive me this is not the first time these SENIORS aka ADULTS have seen a pornographic photo. But of course every one makes a terrific fuss over nothing, if any thing these kids found it funny! Does it really need to be examined who, when, and where this photo came from? I also agree with the other readers that it is so good that this man has an interest in naked woman, not naked men! Is nudity really this harmful? Americans seem the only who feel this way. The rest of the world appreciates the human body!

Your Mama (Anon...

It's also on CNN! Here's their article: NORWALK, Ohio (AP) -- A state legislator surprised a high school class when the computer he was using projected a photo of a nude woman during a lecture on how a bill becomes a law.

State Rep. Matthew Barrett was giving a civics lesson Tuesday when he inserted a data memory stick into the school computer and the projected image of a topless woman appeared instead of the graphics presentation he had downloaded.

Police interviewed Barrett and school officials and seized the data memory stick and the computer to determine where the image came from, a state highway patrol spokesman said.

Barrett said there were a few snickers from the approximately 20 students in the senior government class at Norwalk High School when the image appeared. He said he immediately pulled the memory stick out of the computer.

The legislator said he finished his lecture using printouts and then met with the school's principal and technology staff, who examined the stick. He said the school's technology director determined the stick had a directory of nude images in addition to Barrett's presentation on civics lessons.

"I have no idea where these came from," the Democrat said.

Barrett said the data memory stick was a gift he received about three weeks ago from a legislative liaison from the state Library of Ohio.

Today's Sandusk...

A child of State Rep. Matt Barrett, D-Amherst, was responsible for downloading a topless image that was briefly shown to Norwalk High School seniors in government class, a spokesperson for Barrett said Wednesday night.

Phil Saken, communication director for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, relayed a statement issued by Barrett:

"We want to put this behind us. From what we have learned thus far, this is an internal family matter. We would appreciate respect for our privacy as we deal with this situation," he said.

The incident occurred Tuesday when Barrett was giving a presentation on the legislative process to senior government students at Norwalk High School. When he plugged in the flash drive containing his PowerPoint presentation, a topless photo popped up before he quickly closed the computer, Barrett said.

He said he didn't know how the image got on his flash drive, and he had never downloaded pictures to it. The district's technology director found an entire directory of inappropriate photos on the flash drive.

Here's what I t...

I think his kid needs a good, hard lickin'!

cj (Anonymous)

In this day and age, wouldn't you think that the superintendent would already have the information previewed before a presentation? Duh, it's not that difficult. "He said that process now will be more difficult..." What kind of IT department does the Norwalk Public schools have? Again, this is not difficult...

Nothing is wort...

They should run a blank front page until the Aliens land or another Kennedy gets shot.

ginsburg (Anonymous)

Well, as long as it was a nude woman...wait a minute...were there girls in that class? uh, oh, better get the counselers in there or they'll become gay.
Interesting that the Reflector prints pictures of children with dead animals they are proud to have killed but a picture of a naked woman brings in the State Patrol. Now I can't stop laughing...

re: Here's what...

You'd like to give him a lickin'.

VRO (Anonymous)

This makes front page news for Norwalk Public School but last year when my son was extremly ill due to being exposed to items he is allergic to by his techers, that stays hush hush. He could have died. Norwalks priorities are in the wrong place.

Re re: Here's w...

Yeah, but I said a good HARD lickin'!

Concerned paren...

How come we never had classes like this when I was growing up? I wouldn't have skipped govt class as much...

Cincinnati Read...

I can't believe this made AP headlines...like no one has ever seen a naked woman before. Is the female form so intolerable and disgraceful that a group of high school seniors can't see it like this and have it not make national news? What's the next headline, "Four lettered words scratched on bathroom stall in h.s. bathroom"!?

what crime (Ano...

someone please tell me what crime may have been committed. this clearly is not pornography by any standards. this clearly was accidental, he is not guilty of disseminating harmful material. the same thing happened to me 30 some odd years ago in class, admittedly I'm messed up but not from that. i think we all need to be a little more realistic and quit fabricating situations. this truly is a tempest in a teapot.

me (Anonymous)

I disagree this story wasn't newsworthy, but if this guy (Barrett) gets in trouble for this then we need to have a mutiny and toss the state patrol and state attorney general in the drink.

Your Favorite M...

"a topless photo popped up"...it's not even like full blown nudity?? These kids see more 'boobs' in any tv show or music video than a 'topless photo'. Cripe, look how much skin Britney Spears showed at the VMA's. Give the guy a break.

Nancy (Anonymous)

Wow, This is news. This should have been handled quietly within the Board of Education at most. POLICE INVESTIGATION, MEDIA, Headlines? What is it with society? This was a high school class, not first grade. It should have been laughed off, Although embarrassing for Rep. Barrett , OPPS, should have been enough. Every kid in that class is NOT traumatized by seeing BOOBS, not in 2007. If my children were in that class they would know it was not intentional and thought Rep. Barret was cool.

swiss family......

it was an accident,it wasn't the school's fault, ot the representatives fault , and these were seniors in high school! it was an unfortunate accident, with the key word beieng ACCIDENT people need to relax alittle bit , accidents do happen

hey swiss (Anon...

I thought you were an idiot and wanted all of your comments removed. make up your tiny little mind.