Former Bellport principal pleads not guilty to child porn charges

Kevin O'Connell, former principal of Bellport High School,

Kevin O'Connell, former principal of Bellport High School, leaves federal court in Central Islip after pleading not-guilty to charges of possessing child pornography. (Nov. 26, 2012) (Credit: James Carbone)

An official in the Roosevelt school district, who was formerly the principal of Bellport High School, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of receipt and possession of child pornography.

Kevin O'Connell, 51, of Patchogue, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler in federal court in Central Islip.

Pending future hearings, Wexler continued O'Connell on the same conditions in which he had been freed after his October arrest by federal Homeland Security agents.

The conditions include a $700,000 bond, home detention with electronic monitoring, and the barring of contact with anyone younger than 16.

At the time of his arrest, O'Connell told agents that "he had battled with this his entire life, and that he only viewed child pornography within his own home," according to court records.

The Roosevelt district, where O'Connell was the assistant to superintendent for secondary instruction, suspended him without pay when he was arrested.

In December 2011, O'Connell filed a pending lawsuit against the South County school district and former district superintendent and football coach Joseph Cipp Jr., saying he was fired from his Bellport principal's job because he would not fix the grades of star football player Ryan Sloan so he could get a scholarship to Syracuse University.

An independent investigation found that Sloan's grades were changed and Cipp resigned. Both Cipp and the student, Ryan Sloan, have denied the allegations.

O'Connell's lawyer, Glenn Obedin of Central Islip, declined to comment, as did the prosecutor in the case, Eastern District Assistant United States Attorney Allen Bodie.

If convicted, O'Connell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and as much as 20 years.

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