Florida teacher charged with possessing 408 images of child pornography
11/23/2020 8:52 am PST
LAKELAND, Fla. (TCD) --
A high school teacher in Florida was arrested Friday on 408 counts of possession of child pornography.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Saturday the agency received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that the KIK Messenger app was used to upload a video depicting child pornography on February 20.
Deputies began investigating 46-year-old Shawn Fitzgerald, a teacher and varsity soccer coach at Lakeland Senior High School. Fitzgerald is also a youth director at the First United Methodists Church in Bartow, according the the sheriff's office.
Polk County Sheriff's Computer Crimes detectives served a search warrant at Fitzgerald's residence last Thursday. A forensic examination of Fitzgerald's cellphone found a "Calculator Vault" app designed to look like a calculator, but which functions as a hidden storage area for saved images. Fitzgerald told a detective he stored images from an extramarital affair in the app.
A total of 408 files depicting child pornography were recovered from the phone, including images of both male and female children being sexually battered by adults and/or engaging in sexual acts with other children, with some of the victims appearing to be as young as 10 to 12 months old.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible, and detectives were attempting to determine the source of the child pornography, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
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