The Ohio Department of Education said it fired its chief operating officer after learning he was under investigation for possessing child pornography and then finding such images on his work computer.
John T. Childs, 47, of 2239 Planetree Court on the Northwest Side, was fired on Nov. 2, said John Charlton, an Education Department spokesman. Childs had been on paid administrative leave since around Oct. 15.
“He was under investigation by local law enforcement for child pornography on his home computer. We put Childs on paid administrative leave until we could investigate the alleged charges and we could look at his work computer as well,” Charlton said.
The department turned Childs’ work laptop computer over to the State Highway Patrol, which found thumbnail images "of pornographic nature." The images found on his work laptop were not child pornography, Charlton said.
Childs’ phone was disconnected. He has refused repeated requests for comment from a reporter for WBNS-TV (Channel 10) who has visited his home.
Childs was paid $121,870 a year and had worked for the state since 1990.
No criminal charge has been filed against Childs.
A search warrant filed in Franklin County Municipal Court by sheriff’s detective Marcus Penwell provided some details of the investigation.
In July, members of the sheriff’s special-investigative unit routinely checking the Internet for child pornography traced photos to Childs’ home computer that he allegedly had received through a file-sharing program online, according to the search warrant.
Penwell was able to verify that Childs had been in possession of 145 files of suspected child pornography between April 2012 and September 2012. Penwell found that one of the files depicted a girl between 6 and 9 years old having sex with an adult male, and another was titled sister and brother family sex, the search warrant says.
Detectives searched Childs’ home on Oct. 10 and seized his desktop computer, an iPad and flash drives.
Jim Woods and Jennifer Smith Richards - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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