A Valley Stream man, who had been a guidance counselor in a Brooklyn school district, was arrested Thursday by federal agents on a charge of trading in child pornography, officials said.

John Capuano, 42, who for the past three years has been the United Federation of Teachers representative in School District 18, in Canarsie and Flatlands, in the same area where he had been a counselor, was not required to enter a plea at arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Capuano, who faces a minimum of 5 years in prison if convicted, was held without bail until his family could provide home-value documents to support a bail package.

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But U.S. Magistrate A. Kathleen Tomlinson said she was inclined to release Capuano on unspecified bail as soon they did so. Tomlinson initially said that pending future hearings, Capuano would be confined to detention at his brother's Malverne home, would not have access to a computer or a cellphone, would not be allowed to be in the company of anyone under the age of 18 without a responsible adult present, and would not be allowed to work.

But Tomlinson said she might consider letting Capuano work after his attorney, Donald Vogelman of Manhattan, said he would see if the UFT could find a position with no contact with children.

According to a complaint filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode for the Eastern District, Capuano admitted to federal agents Thursday that he had an Internet account "to trade child pornography," and Capuano told agents that "he had tried to stop but couldn't a number of times," the complaint said.

Capuano also told agents of Homeland Security Investigations that he used his personal phone and his union-rep phone to post child pornography, the document said.

The agents went to Capuano's home with a search warrant after an agent in Delaware in April viewed an account he used to post child pornography, the complaint said.

A teachers union spokesman, Dick Riley, said in a statement: "The UFT believes in zero tolerance on the issue of sexual misconduct with children."

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"That's why our contract already includes the toughest penalty in the state -- automatic termination -- for any teacher found guilty of this offense."

Information about schools where Capuanohad worked was not immediately available. A Board of Education spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Capuano faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison if convicted of the charge.