After pleading guility to possession of child pornography, former principal...

After pleading guility to possession of child pornography, former principal Kevin O' Connell, of Patchogue, leaves federal court in Central Islip on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

A suspended Roosevelt school district official who previously served as principal of Bellport High School pleaded guilty Wednesday to a child pornography charge.

Kevin O'Connell, 54, of Patchogue, appearing in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, admitted he had downloaded child pornography.

Eastern District federal prosecutor Allen Bode said in court that the pornography involved children about 10 to 12 years old engaged in sexual conduct.

O'Connell's attorney, Glenn Obedin of Central Islip, had no comment afterward.

According to court records, O'Connell, an assistant superintendent, told federal agents when he was arrested in November 2012 that "he had battled with this his entire life, and that he only viewed child pornography within his own home."

"A preliminary forensic examination of computer equipment found in the [O'Connell] residence . . . has confirmed the presence of numerous videos of apparent child pornography," the records said.

O'Connell was charged with three counts of downloading child pornography and one count of possession. He was released on $700,000 bond to home detention with electronic monitoring and barred from contact with anyone younger than 16.

O'Connell was suspended without pay by the Roosevelt school district, where he was assistant superintendent for secondary instruction.

In December 2011, O'Connell said he had been fired as the Bellport High principal because he refused to inflate the grades of a star football player, Ryan Sloan, so he could get a scholarship to attend Syracuse University.

An independent investigation found that Sloan's grades were changed and former South Country Central district superintendent and football coach Joseph Cipp Jr. resigned. Both Cipp and Sloan have denied the allegations.

A wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the district by O'Connell was dismissed by a justice in Suffolk Supreme Court in February 2013, according to court records.

Officials at the South Country and Roosevelt districts did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

On the child pornography charge, O'Connell faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date.

Before Bellport, O'Connell was an assistant principal at Copiague High School and a varsity baseball coach at William Floyd High School.

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