Cops: Substitute gym teacher arrested on child porn charges

After a forensic examination of the teacher's computer After a forensic examination of the teacher's computer and other media, Francesco Santodonato, 39, was charged with two counts of possession of a sexual performance of a child and three counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child. Photo Credit: SCPD

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A substitute gym teacher for the South Huntington school district was arrested Thursday because he possessed pictures and videos of child pornography on his home computer in West Babylon, police said.

After a forensic examination of the teacher's computer and other media, Francesco Santodonato, 39, was charged with two counts of possession of a sexual performance of a child and three counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child.

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"We got information that he was downloading and accessing a known child porn web site. That's how the investigation started," said Det. Sgt. Daniel Molloy, who leads Suffolk's Computer Crime Section.

The investigation did not reveal evidence of physical contact between the teacher and his students, police said. "The parents we have spoken to are in shock," Molloy said.

The police are talking to the parents of 10- and 11-year old girls who attend the Maplewood Intermediate School -- the focus of the investigation -- to ask them: "Did Mr. S. ever make you feel uncomfortable?" the officer said.

"We believe he may have been trying to contact . . . girls through chat rooms," he said.

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Santodonato, who was arrested at his home on 13th Street, will be held at the 7th Precinct until his arraignment, which is scheduled for Friday at the First District Court in Central Islip, the police said.

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