Florida teacher, coach found with more than 400 files of child pornography, deputies say
A Florida high school teacher and coach was found with 400 files of child pornography in his possession, MPs said.
Shawn Fitzgerald, 46, is a teacher at Lakeland High School, varsity soccer coach, and youth director at First United Methodist Church in Bartow. He was also once employed as a teacher and soccer coach at George Jenkins High School.
Fitzgerald was arrested Friday and charged with 408 child pornography possession cases, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
"An arrest like this shakes the entire community," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “A man who is entrusted with raising and guiding so many children, works closely with them, and betrays that trust in such a hideous way. Unfortunately, there are people all over the world who own child pornography. "
The sheriff's office first heard from Fitzgerald when a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that a child porn video was uploaded on KIK Messenger in February. The 20-second video showed a man having sex with a 10- to 12-year-old girl, MPs said.
On Thursday, detectives searched Fitzgerald's house and found a Calculator Vault app on his cell phone that can be used to hide stored images.
Fitzgerald told a detective that he used the app to save pictures from an extramarital affair. A forensic examination of the cell phone revealed 408 files of child pornography, the sheriff's office said. The pictures showed both boys and girls being sexually abused by adults and / or having sex with other children. Some of the victims appear to be 10 to 12 months old.
Detectives are still looking for Fitzgerald's phone and other devices. At that point, the sheriff's office stated that there was no evidence that the files were created on site.
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