Cops: School custodian possessed child porn

A custodian at a Sayville elementary school was arrested Tuesday and charged with possessing child pornography, Suffolk County police said. Videojournalist: Network News LI (Aug. 21, 2012)

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A custodian at a Sayville elementary school was arrested Tuesday and charged with possessing child pornography, Suffolk County police said.

Shawn Mead, 44, of Bailey Avenue, Patchogue, was arrested after an undercover investigation into "individuals trading child pornography online," police said.

Assistant Superintendent John Belmonte called Mead "an exemplary worker" and said he has been employed by the district since August 2000.

"We are very surprised," Belmonte said. Belmonte said Mead has been suspended with pay from his job as a custodian at the Lincoln Avenue Elementary School, pending an investigation by the district.

Police said Mead surrendered at the Fifth Precinct and was charged with one count of possessing a sexual performance by a child.

The district said police told them the allegations against Mead do not appear to involve any children from the district. Belmonte said there are no indications Mead had interaction with children at the school, where he worked from 3 to 11 p.m. during the school year, working daytime hours only during summer.

"According to what the detectives are telling us -- and, we have very limited information -- to the best of our knowledge, there was no interaction with students," Belmonte said. "Apparently, this does not involve any child from Lincoln Avenue, but material downloaded from the Internet."

Police said their investigation found Mead was in possession of "numerous pornographic digital images that included photos and videos of young children engaged in sexual activity."

At his arraignment Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip, Mead pleaded not guilty and was expected to post $5,000 bail, said his attorney, Jason Bassett of Central Islip. Mead's next court date is Oct. 17.

"We're just asking that all parties respect his presumption of innocence and privacy during this process," Bassett said. His client worked as "an overnight custodian and did not have contact with students," Bassett said.

With Patricia Kitchen

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