Jackman kindergarten teacher facing federal child porn charges

Posted March 16, 2011, at 8:45 p.m.
Last modified March 18, 2011, at 10:32 a.m.
Rob Mocarsky outside the Federal Court House in Bangor Wednesday.
Rob Mocarsky outside the Federal Court House in Bangor Wednesday.

BANGOR, Maine — The award-winning Jackman kindergarten teacher who was arrested in January for possessing child pornography now is facing two federal charges.

Rob P. Mocarsky, 41, who has been a teacher at Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman since 2002, has been charged in U.S. District Court with producing child pornography and possessing child pornography. He pleaded not guilty to both charges Wednesday at his initial appearance in federal court in Bangor.

Mocarsky stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk and said he understood the two federal charges against him and the possible penalties.

He currently also faces two state charges: 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.

Somerset County District Attorney Evert Fowle said Wednesday evening that his office is working on the case with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor.

Mocarsky was arrested Jan. 6 after a team of detectives from the Maine State Police executed a search warrant at his Halfway Brook Road home and found a computer filled with downloaded child porn and images of his students.

Evidence from the state investigation led to the federal charges. The federal criminal complaint, which was unsealed Tuesday, says a Maine Computer Crimes Unit investigator searched an external hard drive found at Mocarsky’s home and “located hundreds of images of school-aged girls, including some engaging in lascivious displays of their genitals. [Forest Hills] Principal Denise Plante has confirmed that many of these images were taken in Mocarsky’s classroom and depict his students.”

Because federal authorities believe that Mocarsky took the pictures found on the hard drive, he was charged with production of child pornography.

The federal criminal complaint has two images attached, which Kravchuk permanently sealed and barred from being released. The complaint says the images depict two of Mocarsky’s pupils wearing bikinis. One shows a girl posed in a sexual manner and the other shows a girl with her bikini bottom pulled down and her genitals exposed.

A parent of a 5-year-old girl approached school officials Dec. 8 saying Mocarsky had separated her from her classmates the day before, made her change into a miniskirt in the classroom and then took pictures of her, the criminal complaint states.

Mocarsky, who has a wife and two children, was put on administrative leave on Dec. 8.

The kindergarten pupil photographed Dec. 7 was dressed up in a French maid’s costume, The Associated Press reported in January.

After Mocarsky’s arrest in early January, he was taken to Somerset County Jail and was released on $10,000 cash bail the following day, a jail official said.

Kravchuk on Wednesday did not detain him, but she did impose a long list of release conditions that he must abide by while he awaits his next federal court date.

The conditions bar him from contacting any possible victims or witnesses and from initiating contact with those age 16 or under. He may contact his children, but only with Department of Health and Human Services approval. The judge ordered that he be confined to his home except for work, church and approved appointments, and that he wear a location monitoring device.

Mocarsky also cannot possess firearms or explosives and was required to turn over his passport, which he did on Wednesday.

Mocarsky was investigated in New Hampshire 13 years ago for taking photos of students undressing, The Associated Press reported in January. He was an elementary school teacher in Grantham at the time but was not charged, the AP said. Mocarsky left Grantham in 1998.

In Maine, Mocarsky was a teacher at Stockholm Elementary School from 1991 to 1993 and worked at Islesford Elementary School from 1993 to 1995. He also 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.

Mocarsky started working for Forest Hills Consolidated School — a kindergarten through grade 12 school with about 170 students — in 2002 and two years later was one of 100 teachers in the United States to win a Milken Family Foundation Educator Award, which came with a $25,000 prize. He also has been nominated in recent years for the Maine Teacher of the Year award, his principal has said.

Mocarsky had a Sunday radio program on WERU-FM. Station officials said in December that he is no longer affiliated with the radio show.

Mocarsky stood with his attorney, Robert Sandy Jr. of Waterville, during his court appearance Wednesday. He made no statements, and answered only yes to Kravchuk’s questions.

If convicted of the federal production of child pornography charge, Mocarsky could face prison time of no less than 15 years but no more than 30 years, a fine of up to $250,000 or both. He faces no more than 10 years behind bars, a fine of up to $250,000, or both on the federal possession of child pornography charge.

If convicted of the state charges, Mocarsky faces up to 30 years in prison on the sexual exploitation of a minor charge and up to five years for the possession of sexually explicit materials of a minor under 12 years old.

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