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Student Teacher Arrested for Child Porn on his Computer

North Carolina New Teacher Arrested on Criminal Charges for Child Porn Found on his Computer

Child PornNorth Carolina authorities say that a Mooresville man, who planned to become a student teacher next month, has been arrested on criminal charges after police found child porn on his computer.

Michael John Bernatchez, 26, was arrested last week, the first week of December. He has been charged with seven counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

“At this point in the investigation, there is no indication of any student or school involvement in these matters,” sheriff’s Maj. Darren Campbell said Wednesday, December 11th.

According to police, Bernatchez was participating in a college teaching internship at East Mooresville Intermediate School. He planned to become a student teacher at the school in the fall semester next year.

On November 30th, an anonymous citizen contacted the Sheriff’s department and reported that a person might have child porn on their computer. Officials obtained a search warrant and seized the computer, then contacted the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for assistance. Reportedly, the computer contained numerous videos and photos of children involved in sexual activity, as well as “other information which will be used in this investigation.”

There are no indications that students or administrators at the school are involved.

Bernatchez was arrested on December 6th, and his bond was set at $50,000.

Defending Online Solicitation and Child Porn Charges in South Carolina

Prosecuting criminal solicitation of a minor cases is a top priority for South Carolina prosecutors. The Attorney General Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force  it oversees have successfully prosecuted one hundred one (101) Internet Child Predators since the Criminal Solicitation of a Minor law, a felony charge providing for a ten year sentence,  was passed in April 2004.

In the age of the internet, social networking sites including Facebook and Myspace,  and internet chat rooms have become a frequent forum for law enforcement posing as an underage minor.  A person who appears to be  a minor, talks and presents themselves as a minor may actually be an agent running an online sting.

If you attempt, ask or communicate your desire to engage in sexual activity after the “child’s” age is made clear, even if you never meet, you can be charged with online criminal solicitation of a minor.

Under South Carolina law, you can be force to serve up to 10 years for online child solicitation.

Getting charged for possessing child pornography can ruin your personal and professional reputation. If you have been accused of possessing or distributing child pornography, you need an attorney who will take your side, guide you through the legal system and fight to protect your rights.

Charges may include:

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Child Porn Charges in South Carolina

Being caught with child pornography on your computer usually implies that you intentionally downloaded the pornography and purposefully viewed it. However, we understand that that is not necessarily true. The defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will aggressively fight to defend your rights and provide you with the best child pornography defense.We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact ustoday. 803.252.4800.

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