Lee County Virtual School’s principal arrested, facing felony eavesdropping charge

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Albert Shilling (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

The Lee County Virtual School Principal Albert Shilling faces charges for illegally recording a meeting.

It is an unusual case of consent because Florida Statute 934.03 talks specifically about the interception and disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications prohibited.

“Florida is a two-party consent state,” said FGCU Professor Dr. David Thomas.

Lee County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Shilling for recording a meeting without permission.

They say the victim, another school employee, had a meeting with Shilling but was fearful he would go off-topic and talk about the school budget, raising money, and use a recording against her.

The victim told deputies she saw Shilling recording on his phone and said she saw audio levels. Then she told Shilling that she did not permit him to record her.

“If he quote made a mistake, then the smart thing to do right in front of her would have been to delete the record that would validate that he made the mistake. He didn’t do that. Apparently, he didn’t do that. So that leaves it up for debate,” said Thomas.

LCSO detectives came to the school district to talk with Shilling His cell phone was seized and matched a picture provided by the victim.

Detectives report Shilling voluntarily gave the passcode to see the phone’s contents and became very nervous.

Thomas said, “The fact that he asked for an attorney, that set the stage for the battle, and again, it’s frozen in time, I mean, he never gave consent to search the phone. He could have just not given them the password at all, and they can’t necessarily compel him to give him the password. Unless they give them a warrant and tell him that he is compelled to do so.”

WINK News reached out to every member of the school board. The only comment, besides no comment, is that Shilling has been suspended with pay.

Shilling is out of police custody after bonding out of jail. He’s expected back in court on March 14 on one felony eavesdropping illegal interception of communication charge.

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