An Aberdeen High School teacher arrested on investigation of child pornography charges in Elma has been placed on administrative leave and told not to have contact with students or employees of the Aberdeen School District. His name has also been removed from the school district’s website. The 31-year-old Elma man remains booked in the Grays Harbor County Jail on charges of Dealing in, and Possessing Depictions of a Minor Engaged in Sex.
A press release from the district on Saturday said that they were notified the employee was under investigation last week. Dr. Thomas Opstad added, “Because there is an active police investigation and it involves a personnel matter, the District’s policy is to not release the name of the teacher.” However, the district has confirmed that prior to hiring the teacher, all required criminal background checks had been performed, and the teacher’s references were verified.
The press released concluded, “In light of the open police investigation the District cannot provide any further comment but wants the School community to know that student safety is always the primary concern of our District.”
Sergent Ryan Cristelli from the Elma Police Department said that on Thursday of last week they executed a search warrant at his home based on a tip received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
During the execution of the search warrant, numerous computers, and media storage were taken as evidence. Upon review of some of the property seized, further evidence of the crimes was discovered, and the man was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail on related charges Friday.
The man is jailed on investigation of these charges, with what is called a “Determination of Probable Cause” to hold him during the investigation. In light of this, and other facts about the ongoing investigation, it is this news department’s policy to not release the name of the man at this time.