August 4, 2022

City Honors graduate creates petition to keep ex-teacher behind bars

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A petition seeking to keep a former Buffalo Public Schools teacher in jail has been circulating for 24 hours.

Peter Hingston, 63, pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in June 2021.

PREVIOUS STORY: Former City Honors teacher pleads guilty to child pornography charges

7 News is showing his photo ID because of his position at City Honors, where he taught for nearly 30 years, according to a court memorandum.

The petition collected more than 100 signatures.

A former Hingston student created this petition and said he was looking to send a message.

City Honors graduate Patrick Swain said he first entered Peter Hingston’s technology class in 2015.

“The signs were still there. There were still whispers about his inappropriate behavior in the halls of City Honors, but I always thought they were just rumours,” said Patrick Swain. “Now, knowing what I know, I find it very hard to bear the fact that I was probably walking past his victims in the hallways every day.”

At the time, Swain was 12 years old. He graduated in 2021.

The 19-year-old said he wanted justice for his peers.

City Honors graduate Patrick Swain speaks with 7 News' Pheben Kassahun about the petition he created.

Swain explained: “We were kids. We were all kids, and we hadn’t learned how to defend ourselves yet, and we hadn’t yet learned how to defend ourselves. That’s why people rarely alerted adults in the building because of the atrocities that were taking place within its walls. I want Mr. Hingston to know that we are no longer children and that we are asking for justice.

That’s why he created a petition on Change.org on Wednesday afternoon, which has garnered over 1,700 signatures so far.

With each signing, it brings them closer to justice for him and his peers, Swain explained.

He added: “Of course the best way to try to influence this judge is probably to send him personal statements, but I recognize that not everyone has the ability to do that. So I wanted to create a way to make a collective statement, where 100 people can endorse a singular idea.”

Buffalo attorney Lynn King has also been working to draw attention to the sentencing hearing taking place this week and next week.

In the government’s 14-page sentencing memorandum and response to the defendant’s sentencing memorandum, which was released earlier this month, the indicative sentence is 210 to 240 months, or 17.5 to 24 years. , imprisonment.

However, Hingston’s legal team is seeking a more lenient sentence of seven years.

“I think 15 to 20 years would be enough,” Swain said. “If that’s what we’re going to get, I’ll take it, but the idea of ​​the 7-year-old defense is insulting to the victims. It’s a slap in the face, that’s what it is.”

The document chronicles the testimony of four female witnesses who said they saw Hingston use a Go-Pro camera to take pictures of underage students.

PREVIOUS STORY: City Honors teacher arrested by FBI on child sex charges

The document contains other details that are too graphic for the air. The full document can be read here:

Swain told Pheben Kassahun via Zoom, “I think the nature of his crimes makes it clear that he is a repeat offender and I have yet to be convinced that he has remorse.”

Kassahun contacted Hingston’s attorney, Rodney Personius, who told him he could not comment publicly at this time.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York also declined to comment on the case.

Hingston’s sentencing is expected to continue next week.