Teacher admits to viewing child porn

Posted April 21, 2009, at 7:16 p.m.

THORNDIKE, Maine — The Mount View Junior High School science teacher arrested last week for child pornography admitted to police that he viewed the images on both the school’s and his own personal computer.

Michael Douglas, 41, of Augusta was charged with possession of sexually explicit material of minors under the age of 12 years. He was arrested at his Church Hill Road home last Thursday after a three-week investigation. He was booked at the Kennebec County Jail and released on $1,000 bail. Bail conditions forbid him from possessing a computer or using the Internet.

According to an affidavit filed in 5th District Court in Belfast by State Trooper Corey Smith in conjunction with the case, Douglas admitted to Smith and Sgt. Glen Lang of the department’s Computer Crime Division that he had accessed child pornography on his school-issued computer “over the course of several years.” He also confessed to viewing the images on the home computer.

Douglas told the troopers that the content he observed “depicted children as young as toddlers to adult women engaged in sexual acts,” according to the affidavit.

Trooper Smith stated that he first became aware of Douglas on March 31 when the SAD 3 Superintendent of Schools Joseph Mattos informed state police that he was in possession of a state-issued laptop computer containing child pornography.

Smith said he met with Mattos and was provided with copies of information removed from the computer that “illustrated the allegation” that Douglas had used the computer to access Internet sites for the purpose of viewing children under the age of 12 that were engaged in sexual acts.

When Smith and Lang met with Douglas in Unity two days later, Douglas admitted his involvement. Douglas also told the officers that he viewed pornographic images on the school’s computer at his home as well as on his own desktop computer. The officers then followed Douglas home to Augusta and took possession of his computer. A subsequent search of the computer at the Criminal Crimes Unit in Vassalboro uncovered additional images of child pornography.

Last week, two detectives and a trooper conducted a series of interviews with Mount View Junior High School students at the school. Superintendent Mattos said the students’ parents were present during the interviews. Mattos commended the detectives for their professionalism.

Neither Mattos nor police would say exactly why students were interviewed or what they were asked.

When questioned about the investigation last week, Mattos declined to discuss the matter but acknowledged that Douglas had recently resigned for “personal reasons.” He also said Douglas had been instructed to keep away from school property. Douglas was arrested April 16, two days after the interviews with the students were conducted.

Besides being a science teacher, Douglas is also the founder of the Maine Primitive Skills School. According to its Web site, the school is a wilderness survival school located on 23 wooded acres off Church Hill Road in Augusta. It was originally founded as the Good Earth School in 1989 while Douglas was a student at the University of Maine at Orono and became MPSS in 1998.

The school’s stated goal is to reconnect people to ancient technologies and back to themselves. Students are taught primitive skills, survival skills, wilderness survival, modern survival, bushcraft, native awareness, wildlife tracking, earth living, shelter building, wild edibles, and more.

The site also notes that Douglas ran programs at schools, camps and businesses such as L.L. Bean, Barnes & Noble, the Maine Conservation School, and the Boy Scouts of America.

Ryder Scott, director of the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, said Tuesday that Douglas conducted a weeklong course for the camp in 2004. Scott said the camp never received complaints about Douglas. He emphasized that Douglas “doesn’t have any direct affiliation with Bryant Pond.”

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in Midcoast