Teacher free on bail, placed on leave, after child porn arrest

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

PORTLAND — A Portland High School teacher arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography was released on bail last week.

Gerald White, 44, was arrested Dec. 16 at the school at 284 Cumberland Ave., according to spokesman Steve McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety. Police had seized White’s computer the day before at his home on Lower Flying Point Road in Freeport.

White was charged with with possessing sexually explicit material of someone under the age of 12 and was taken to the Cumberland County Jail. He was released Dec. 16 after posting  $500 bail. McCausland said White will go to court “some time in the early new year.”

Possession of child pornography is a Class C felony.

According to McCausland, following the examination of White’s personal computer, olice discovered pdozens of images of child pornography. None of the children depicted are believed to be from Maine, he said.

McCausland on Dec. 17 said there is no indication any students from the school were involved.

The Computer Crimes Unit began investigating White after receiving a tip, said McCausland, who would not say where the tip originated. He said the reason White was arrested on Wednesday, even though his computer was seized on Tuesday, was because the unit needed time to examine it.

“There’s police information gathered that results in information that has our Computer Crimes Unit opening up an investigation,” McCausland said. “That’s what happened here.”

McCausland said police don’t know if White posed a risk to students at the school, but given that he “has immediate access to minors” as a teacher, his case rose to the top. McCausland said the investigation into White “was not long.”

“Some cases are expedited because of occupation,” McCausland said Dec. 17. “This would have been one of them.”

White was placed on administrative leave by Portland Public Schools following his arrest, pending any further developments. Interim Superintendent of Schools Jeanne Crocker issued a statement to the district the same day, saying school officials had no prior information about the investigation or charge before the State Police arrived at the school.

“We are not aware of any allegations or evidence that the teacher engaged in any such activity while in school or while using school computers or networks,” Crocker’s statement said.

The district also sent out a letter to parents,, reiterating that educators were not aware of any allegations or evidence that White engaged in criminal activity at the school or was using school computers or networks.

“We will fully support and cooperate with the investigation being conducted by Maine State Police,” the letter read. “We will provide ongoing support for our students, staff, and families as needed throughout the process to ensure that all of our students feel and are safe at school.”   WORDS MISSING

White has worked at Portland High School since 2010, when he hired as an educational technician. He began teaching art in 2013.

State Police initially reported White was arrested at his home, but later said he was arrested at the school.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Gerald White

0
Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.