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Bellmore man convicted on child pornography charges

A 65-year-old former night school teacher at Queens' Flushing High School recently was convicted on federal charges in Central Islip. A U.S. district judge sentenced the Bellmore man to a five-year prison term for his large collection of child pornography. Prior to his sentencing, he apologized to the court for his actions.

According to federal officials, the man told them when he was arrested that he had driven a school bus for a five-year period. He also said he retired from the night school teaching position in 2011.

Court documents state that the man had been a collector of child porn for 10 years and that he faced a total of 10 years behind bars. The federal prosecutor for the Eastern District said that when the former teacher was arrested at home in September 2012, agents discovered 200,000 photo files and 10,000 video files on his computer. They also found other hard drives and discs with pornographic images of children on them as well.

Federal agents working undercover learned that a computer in the man's home was sharing images of child porn online, according to documents filed with the court. During the search of his home, he admitted that he had searched for pornographic images of children under eight years old.

Agents discovered both a loaded handgun and a loaded semiautomatic, but the man's pistol permit in Nassau County had expired in 2002. Those weapons charges are pending in the county.

The man told agents that he had not touched any children. His attorney, speaking after the sentencing was passed, said he had been hopeful for a "more lenient sentence," because no children were physically harmed by his client.

Crimes involving children in New York always make headlines and are often zealously prosecuted. Anyone accused of similar charges needs someone on his or her team who won't back down from prosecutors, and instead, will go toe-to-toe with them and present a vigorous defense. Even if a conviction results, negotiations can sometimes be arranged with the prosecution to avoid jail time, such as recommending electronic monitoring or house arrest to the court.

Source: Newsday, "Retired teacher gets 5 years on child porn charge" Robert E. Kessler, Jun. 25, 2014

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