Cops: Former coach charged with child porn

Suffolk County Police arrested Thomas Bouklas on a

Suffolk County Police arrested Thomas Bouklas on a charge of possessing child pornography on his computer in Holbrook. (Jan. 11, 2013) (Credit: SCPD)

A retired high school teacher from Holbrook who was an accomplished soccer coach was arrested Friday on a child pornography charge, police said.

An investigation by computer crimes detectives led to evidence that Thomas Bouklas, 64, "was downloading and possessing child pornography via the Internet," Suffolk police said.

Bouklas, who worked at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip from 1969 to 2006, was charged with possessing a sexual performance of a child, officials said.

Among Bouklas' accomplishments as boys soccer coach: 18 Catholic High School Athletic Association league titles, a perfect 18-0 season in 1993 and state CHSAA titles in 1996 and 1998.

He most recently served as the school's assistant girls soccer coach. Those "duties were terminated pending the outcome of the investigation," the Diocese of Rockville Centre said in a statement.

Bouklas is charged with possessing just one image on his computer and "denies any intent to commit any crime," his lawyer Arshad Majid said. "We believe this is a mistake and a misunderstanding," he said.

Bouklas, who voluntarily surrendered, "is a respected professional who has devoted his life to his family, his profession and his community," Majid said.

During his more than 30 years with the school, "there was never an issue of concern that was made known" to the diocese or the school, according to the diocese. In addition to coaching soccer, Bouklas taught English and served as the TV studio coordinator, the diocese said.

The investigation began about five or six months ago, Det. Sgt. Daniel Molloy said. A search warrant was executed in November at Bouklas' Arnold Street home, when computers, hard drives and assorted media were seized, Molloy said. At that time, police notified school officials, he said.

The diocese and the school "are cooperating fully with law enforcement in this matter," the diocese said.

At his arraignment Friday in First District Court, Central Islip, Bouklas denied the charge and was released on his own recognizance. He is due in court March 5. -- With Bart Jones

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