SOMERVILLE — In his career in education, Patrick Lott had been described as an assistant principal, [CAP Veteran], a teacher and a coach.
But before Lott was sentenced today to six years in prison for videotaping young boys in the showers at Immaculata High School in Somerville, an assistant prosecutor painted a much darker picture of a man whom she said had violated a position of trust.
“He shattered it. He tore it apart,” Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Laurie Head-Melillo said, adding that Lott “shattered the trust of the community, of the school, of parents, and of children.”
The “real Patrick Lott,” Head-Melillo added, is the one “that’s manipulative, that’s narcissistic, that’s predatory, and that’s criminal.”
In exchange for a six-year prison term, Lott, 56 of Somerville, pleaded guilty in May to multiple counts of child endangerment and invasion of privacy for secretly videotaping boys between 2007 and 2011 in the showers at Immaculata, where he served as a volunteer coach.
With nearly two years’ credit for time already served, Lott could be eligible for parole starting next month, said his attorney, James Wronko.
Before he was sentenced, Lott said he wanted to apologize to the players and families “whose trust I breached” as well as to the Immaculata community. The school is a great place, he said, and his actions “shouldn’t reflect on anybody else” at the institution.
“I’m embarrassed and ashamed of my actions,” said Lott, a former assistant principal at Bernardsville Middle School.
But Superior Court Judge Julie Marino in Somerville later told Lott it does not appear “you truly, truly own your conduct and own what you did,” and said he would have received a much longer prison sentence if he had been convicted at trial.
The judge condemned Lott’s actions in light of the inspirational and life-saving roles that teachers can play in students’ lives. Marino noted how some teachers died while protecting students during the school shooting last year in Newtown, CT.
“Your conduct perverts everything that is good and right in education,” Marino told Lott. “It rocks the very foundation of the system built upon a special relationship between teacher and student.”
The case began on Nov 17, 2011 when an Immaculata official contacted law enforcement in regard to an anonymous email sent to the school concerning allegations surrounding Lott, according to Marino.
On Dec 9, Lott’s wife reported him missing and said she had received an email from him, saying he tried to be a good father and apologizing for being a disappointment. Lott also posted a message on Facebook about how he tried to be a great role model and adding, “No one is perfect. Thanks for the memories,” Marino said.
Lott was ultimately found at a hotel in Franklin Township, where he was located in a bathtub with lacerations to his wrist and neck.
When authorities later executed a search warrant on Lott’s residence, they found several videos of nude boys showering at Immaculata, prosecutors said. Of the 29 individuals identified in the videos, 15 were younger than 16 when the videos were recorded, prosecutors said.
Authorities later found the area at the school where Lott had secretly installed a camera.
During today’s sentencing, Wronko said his client wanted to stress that those videos never left his possession and were never posted online.
“They were never in a position where they could be on the Internet. They are not out there,” Wronko said. “The only copies that exist is what the prosecutor has.”