Jackman kindergarten teacher arrested on child porn charges

Rob Mocarsky
Penobscot County Jail
Rob Mocarsky
Posted Jan. 07, 2011, at 11:33 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:26 a.m.
Rob P. Mocarsky of Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman was named one of 100 teachers across the country to receive a prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2004.
Rob P. Mocarsky of Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman was named one of 100 teachers across the country to receive a prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2004.

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — An award-winning kindergarten teacher who was arrested Thursday and accused of possessing child pornography remained at Somerset County Jail on Friday after his first court appearance.

Rob P. Mocarsky, 41, who has been a teacher at Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman since 2002, is charged with Class A sexual exploitation of a minor under 12 years old and Class C possession of sexually explicit materials of a minor under 12 years old. Police said they found dozens of sexually explicit photographs of children on Mocarsky’s computer.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said this isn’t the first Maine teacher to be accused of possessing child porn, but that this case is still unique.

“What makes this case unique is that some of the children involved were his students,” said McCausland, who added that he did not know if the photos of Mocarsky’s students were of a sexually explicit nature. He said detectives from the state’s Computer Crimes Task Force were trying to identify the children in the pictures and would notify any parents whose children are involved.

Mocarsky, who has been on administrative leave from his job since Dec. 8, remained held at Somerset County Jail late Friday afternoon on $10,000 cash or $100,000 property bond, according to a jail booking officer. Mocarsky’s attorney, Robert Sandy of Waterville, said Friday evening that he and his client were exploring options to have the defendant released on bail.

Sandy, who said he was retained on behalf of Mocarsky before his court appearance, would not say if Mocarsky admits to the charges or is contesting them.

“The best way to put it is that we’re very concerned about the seriousness of the charges,” said Sandy.

According to documents in Somerset County Superior Court, Mocarsky’s alleged exploitation of a minor occurred between Sept. 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. His alleged possession of child pornography was discovered Thursday when a team of detectives from the Maine State Police executed a search warrant at his home, which was followed by Mocarsky’s arrest.

According to McCausland, who cited information from the Maine Department of Education, Mocarsky was a teacher at Stockholm Elementary School from 1991 to 1993, Mount Desert Elementary School in 1993-94 and the now-closed Longfellow School on Cranberry Isles in 1994-95.

Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman, where Mocarsky has been a kindergarten teacher since 2002, houses 171 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, said Forest Hills Principal Denise Plante. She said most of the school’s students in grade three and up have been involved in discussions this week with teachers and administrators about the situation and that the school held a meeting for parents and community members Thursday night which was attended by 46 people.

“What I found at that meeting was a respectful community and the amazing way they’re responding to this crisis and betrayal,” said Plante. “With students, we’re focusing on their safety. We want to make sure they feel safe in their school.”

Plante said the issue came to light after she received complaints and questions from a parent on Dec. 8, 2010. Mocarsky, who has a wife and two children, was put on administrative leave that day. Before that, he had been seen as an exemplary teacher, said Plante. In 2004, he was one of 100 teachers in the United States to win a Miliken Family Foundation Educator Award, which came with a $25,000 prize. Plante said he also has been nominated in recent years for the Maine Teacher of the Year award.

“He’s also had outstanding evaluations and recommendations,” said Plante.

Mocarsky has worked as a teacher and consultant for the Maine Geographic Alliance and as a park ranger at Acadia National Park, according to previous reports in the Bangor Daily News. He also had a Sunday radio program on WERU-FM. Station officials said Friday that Mocarsky is no longer affiliated with the radio show.

Sandy, Mocarsky’s attorney, said Friday that he had yet to receive any information from prosecutors about the investigation of his client.

“At this early stage, that doesn’t bother me,” he said. “All of this is evolving and we’ll get all the information eventually.”

Class A sexual exploitation of a minor, the more serious of the two charges facing Mocarsky, results from a situation in which a person “intentionally or knowingly employs, solicits, entices, persuades, uses or compels another person, not that person’s spouse, who is in fact a minor, to engage in sexually explicit conduct,” according to Maine law. The charge is elevated to Class A because Mocarsky’s alleged victim was younger than 12 years old. The penalty for the crime is up to 10 years in prison.

Somerset County District Attorney Evert Fowle did not return a call seeking comment on Friday. Police affidavits, which in most court cases provide additional details about crimes, have been impounded in this case, according to a clerk at Somerset County Superior Court.

McCausland said state police detectives met with computer investigators Friday to divide up the considerable amount of work that remains to be done in the investigation.

Mocarsky’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 9 in Somerset County Superior Court.

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