Children still being identified in NH child porn case

Posted Sept. 09, 2011, at 5:50 a.m.

MILTON, N.H. — Law enforcement officials are still investigating the Milton man facing possession of child pornography charges and are trying to identify the subjects of the images in his possession.

John Allen Wright, 45, of 52A Charles Street in Milton, was arrested last week after an investigation by the state Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force that began in February 2011 led to a search warrant being executed at his home Thursday, according to an affidavit filed by Milton Police Chief Mark McGowan.

According to the affidavit, the search of Wright’s home resulted in the discovery of an external hard drive, identified as being used by Wright, that contained approximately 10,000 images and movies depicting child sexual abuse.

Wright was a bus driver with Provider Enterprises Inc. until his arrest on Sept. 1, where he worked driving special needs children. Officials at the bus company did not return calls Thursday.

This role with the company was a focus of the county prosecutor’s argument for high bail at his arraignment in Rochester District Court on Sept. 2, where Asst. County Attorney Dorothy Walch described Wright’s alleged crimes as “disturbing” and told the judge that some of the images found in Wright’s possession had titles referencing handicapped and disabled children.

“This is extremely disturbing to the state given that the defendant is a school bus driver for disabled kids,” Walch said at the arraignment. “He has been entrusted with the care and transport of vulnerable children.”

Provider is a private bus company based in Brentwood that transports special needs students throughout the state, including Rochester, Farmington, Somersworth, and Dover.

According to Rochester Superintendent Michael Hopkins, Wright was slated to drive special needs students of all ages in the district this school year. After his arrest, however, he was put on unpaid leave by Provider.

Previously, Hopkins said, Wright worked in the area driving high school students to and from the city’s vocational center and other vocational centers in the region.

Milton Superintendent Gail Kushner confirmed that Wright also worked for that district several years ago, from November 2004 until he left in February 2008.

Kushner said that while she was not working for the district at the time, she had accessed Wright’s personnel file and said he passed a criminal records check before his employment with the district.

At his arraignment last week, Walch said Wright had a limited criminal history, including a charge of issuing bad checks in 1997 and a charge of prohibited sale in 2003.

Kushner said that she is unsure if Wright drove special needs students during his time in Milton, but that he was not working there as an employee of Provider, but of the school district itself.

He left the district in 2008 for financial reasons, Kushner said, citing a resignation letter from Wright that said he was not making enough money at the job.

Kushner said she could not be sure if there were ever complaints about Wright during his time with the district, but said there were no official complaints in his file.

It is also unclear if local police have received complaints about Wright since his arrest, as the information is part of the ongoing investigation.

Milton Police Chief Mark McGowan, whose department is working with the ICAC to continue the investigation into Wright, said that if the department receives any complaints about the bus driver or any information about local children involved, the complainant would be referred to the ICAC.

McGowan would not comment on whether the department has received such complaints from locals thus far, however.

Sgt. Thomas Grella, a supervisor with the ICAC and a member of the Portsmouth police department, said he was unaware of any local complaints about children who could have been a victim of Wright’s.

Grella would not comment on the case, but said the investigation into Wright, and whether any local children were involved, is ongoing.

After Wright’s arraignment last week, however, Walch said that so far there is no evidence suggesting that Wright was manufacturing the child sexual abuse images.

Currently, Wright is facing five felony counts of possession of child pornography and is being held in the Strafford County House of Corrections on $50,000 cash bail. More charges could be forthcoming, police said.

Wright is scheduled to appear on Rochester District Court on Sept. 12 for a probable cause hearing.

(c)2011 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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