A 19-year-old was charged with illegally hacking into student Google Classroom accounts to post racist and homophobic photos, videos and comments in classes at his former high school, authorities announced Thursday.
Aaron Ketelaar allegedly hacked into several accounts at Villa Park High School on Dec. 18, 2020, and posted racist photos and comments in the class announcement section, which were viewable by the teacher and students in that class, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Ketelaar also allegedly hacked a student account and interrupted two classes with a video of a person wearing a skull mask, sunglasses, beanie and headset using racial epithets.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team and the Orange Unified School District investigated the matter after the hacked posts were reported in January. Ketelaar was identified by investigators as having accessed the students’ accounts when the images, comments and videos were being posted.
“No one should be subjected to the kind of racist and homophobic messages sent by these hackers under the pretense of being sent by fellow classmates,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
“The anonymity of the internet is assisting haters in finding other like-minded people to help them carry out their racist acts in the hopes that they will be able to slink away into the depths of the internet without their true identities being revealed.”
Ketelaar was charged with one felony count of unauthorized computer access along with a felony hate crime enhancement. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison if convicted on all counts.