Teacher at Australian Jewish day schools arrested after child porn allegedly found on computer

(JTA) – Victoria state police in Australia arrested a teacher at a Melbourne Jewish day school after his previous employer, also a Jewish day school, allegedly uncovered child pornography and surreptitiously taken photos on a computer he used.

“Detectives have charged a man following an investigation into child pornography and upskirting incidents at an Eastern suburbs school,” a police spokesperson told JTA on Thursday, saying that the alleged incidents took place between 2014 and 2017. “Upskirting” describes photos taken of the crotch area with the subject’s knowledge or consent.

“The 52-year-old man has been charged with make/produce child porn and possess child pornography,” the spokesperson said. The suspect, who is presently employed by Mount Scopus Memorial College and who worked at Bialik College, was not named.

Bialik College said in a statement that it uncovered the evidence as a result of its “proactive child protection policy and procedures in place that includes robust screening, induction and monitoring processes.”

“Recently, an audit of defunct computer equipment resulted in the discovery of this material,” the statement said. “Immediately, the school notified Victoria Police, the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the teacher’s current employer.”

Rabbi James Kennard, the principal at Mount Scopus Memorial College, told JTA that the staffer was immediately suspended until further notice and that the police said there were no allegations that the suspect had been in direct contact with children, which Bialik College also said in its statement.

“Victoria Police has advised there are no contact offences alleged,” Kennard said.

“Naturally, the safety of our students is our highest priority,” Kennard said. “As at all times, we have urged any student who may feel they have been a victim of improper conduct, or who has witnessed any suspicious activity, to report this to the Victoria Police.”

Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, the principal at Bialik Colleges said the school had notified staff, parents, and alumni of the arrest, and had spoken to students who the staffer had taught.

“We place a very high level of trust in our teachers, present and past, and we are deeply shocked and upset by this situation,” he told JTA.

The suspect will appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on August 10.

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