David Harper Music Teacher

David Harper Music Teacher

Posted in the Albuquerque Forum

nm mom

Albuquerque, NM

#1 Feb 5, 2009
Has anyone been following this? My son went to that school during the time he was a music teacher there.

Denison, TX

#2 Feb 5, 2009
We (parents) were sent home a letter today, quite disturbed the school has known since July! The letter says no complaints by students at Stapleton were made nor have they received any info that any students were photographed by him during his employment. I am glad this sicko is behind bars and I upset that the school waited this long to notify us.
Mom of Four


#3 Feb 5, 2009
I just found out about this myself, through a notification the Superintendent of Schools sent home today to the parents of students of Stapleton Elementary. The notice did indicate there was an assistant who would have been in attendance in the classes but certainly if anyone knows of any incidents beyond the possession of child porn they need to inform the police. As of now, I cannot find any indications of actual molestations, so hopefully he never directly hurt any child.

Understandably, he was dismissed from our schools as soon as the police notified the school district.

After reading the school notification, I immediately went to the internet to do some searches and don't know how I just found out about this since he was arrested & charged several months ago. Not only did I find your post, but I also found the following article at this website >> http://boards.library.trutv.com/showthread.ph...
David Harper, music teacher at Stapleton Elementary School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico was indicted on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children. In July, Harper was also charged with 43 counts of child pornography in New Jersey.

Harper was arrested and reportedly told officers he had a computer at his New Mexico home. He admitted to being a teacher in Rio Rancho and according to the affidavit he told officers he was attracted to one of his students.

last July, harper was found taking photos of children at a beach. When officers asked him about it police report he said,Im not going to deny that there are pictures of people on my camera but if they are afraid there going to show up on the Internet, they dont have to worry. I Photoshop the pictures and you wont recognize any of them.


I remember being so impressed by how wonderfully the 3rd-5th grades he taught played the marimba together... now I shiver to think the exposure any of those kids might have had!!! AWFUL! To think I was so dissappointed that my daughter would not likely get to learn the marimbas from him because he had a major stroke shortly after she started kindergarten (& I was not sure if he would even be there when she reached the higher grades)!!! Now I'm SOOOO relieved for her sake, but worry so much about all the other kids potentially harmed by him, the ones that will never say anything to their parents not knowing what to do. It's very sad
nm mom

Albuquerque, NM

#4 Feb 6, 2009
I, too, thought he was an amazing teacher. He seemed to be so passionate about music, but I guess that really wasn't his motivation. I pray that our children weren't affected by him and I pray that the children that were get the help they need.

I urge anyone that any parent of his students at least bring up the subject. Sometimes it just takes knowing that they will have support once they talk about it can make a big difference.

Meridian, ID

#5 Feb 6, 2009
Sorry to disagree, but aren't we being a little harsh? Okay, he had pictures in his possession but he never actually HURT or TOUCHED a real child. And he was a terrific teacher. Should we condemn him and throw away all the good stuff because of something he did at home?

Now if he took the pictures himself or hurt the kids, that would be a different story but it seems that he kept his private fetish apart from his job as a teacher.
One more Mom

Roswell, NM

#6 Feb 10, 2009
Both of my kids took music from Mr. Harper. My oldest son, now 14, wanted so badly to play the recorder when he was in 1st grade. I told him to go talk to Mr. Harper. He did, and Mr. Harper took him even though normally kids have to be in 2nd grade. By the 2nd grade, he was in the Harp & Marimba band, and the youngest there. I know that Mr. Harper NEVER did anything to endanger my son, or any of the other kids in his class. I was often at the school as a volunteer, and would also volunteer for music events transporting instruments, etc. Mr. Harper was an awesome and gifted teacher. It all seems so out-of-character for Mr. Harper, that I can only guess that it has to do with having the stroke. It is all very sad, and a horrible tragedy that this happened to somebody who truly enhanced the education of the children in our community.
Mom of ESES student

Albuquerque, NM

#7 May 14, 2009
You are sadly mistaken if you think a stroke, or any other illness for that matter, can turn a person into a pedophile. He is obviously disturbed and there is no excuse for what he has done.
Both of my sons attended ESES within the past few years and liked Mr. Harper at that time. Also, my younger sister was an aide at the asst living facility where Mr. Harper stayed while recovering from his stroke. She saw no signs, nor did she suspect anything like this could ever happen. Just goes to show that you cannot trust the secret mind of any person, regardless of their social status, successful career or kind hearted nature. There are creeps all over this world!!!!
Guitar Kid

Rio Rancho, NM

#8 Nov 16, 2009
Man... Mr. Harper was my music teacher when I attended ESES. I'm 17 now, and I remember I had always thought he was strange, a diverse musician and talented, but strange. I remember if it was picture day or something and we were in music class and some kids wanted to change for pictures he would tell them to "just go change in the hall" (there was a narrow kind of entrance area in the music room that separated the music room and the bathroom) and "we won't peak". And I remember we used to get grossed out because he would scratch his butt on the doorknob so none of us ever wanted to touch it. But we were all extremely young and didn't realize just how strange his behavior was and blew it off as simply "weird".

However, my wonderful parents were always suspicious and would never allow my brother or I to be alone with him.

I got a chance to speak with him, at the most a week before his conviction, at a guitar performance some friends of mine were in at the Hispanic Cultural Museum. He had a camera hanging around his neck, walked with a cane, and due to the stroke his voice was slurred, he seemed glad to see me though. Immediately after I greeted him he greeted me with a hello and a handshake with a big smile on his face. He didn't seem too eager to talk so I continued on to the performance. My mother, brother, and I found seats near the front... Mr. Harper took his directly behind us.

The show was fantastic and once it ended we stood up preparing to leave, but before we left our seats Mr. Harper stopped us, and with his camera raised to his face took a picture. Keep in mind we thought nothing of this, and I am still pretty sure he only took the picture because he figured he'd never see me again (while I was in elementary school, not to sound bragadocious or anything, I was sort of his "prized" music student as I had a great interest in the guitar and wound up playing all of his instruments with a fair degree of proficiency).

However after learning of what Mr. Harper had been doing, it definitely changed how I view all of the little... I guess you'd say "quirky" things he did. And fascinatingly enough, pretty much everyone who went to that school with me all said, "I knew it!!!" when they heard the news.

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