Ex-kindergarten teacher gets 16 years on child porn charge

Rob Mocarsky
Penobscot County Jail
Rob Mocarsky
Posted Nov. 08, 2011, at 8:05 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 08, 2011, at 5:54 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A former kindergarten teacher who photographed some of his female students without underwear and wearing costumes was sentenced Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Bangor to 16 years in prison — one year more than the mandatory minimum.

Rob Mocarsky, 41, of Jackman waived indictment on June 17 and pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Mocarsky to 10 years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.

He has been held without bail since pleading guilty to the charge.

The mother of one of the victims said outside the courtroom that the sentence was fair.

In describing the impact the crime had on her now 8-year-old daughter, the woman said that her daughter refused to sit for school photographs and would not allow anyone she didn’t know to take her picture.

“He preyed on a community,” the weeping mother told the judge. “I feel there’s still a lot of pain, anger and confusion being felt by the children, the families and the community as a whole.”

Mocarsky kept a lot of costumes in his classroom at Forest Hills Consolidated Schools in Jackman so the 5- and 6-year-olds in his care could pretend to be pirates and fairy princesses. Often Mocarsky photographed the children playing dress-up with a school-owned camera and hung the photos up in the classroom.

The teacher, however, played favorites. Mocarsky asked four girls over two school years to stay after class and pose for some very different portraits, snapped with the same camera as the others. These pictures were not seen by other pupils playing dress-up. The teacher kept them all to himself, or so he thought.

These photographs and the breach of trust they represent are the reason Mocarsky will spend 16 years in federal prison, Woodcock said.

“You violated the most basic premise of teaching, which like physicians is, ‘First, do no harm,’” the judge told Mocarsky. “You harmed these girls who will have to overcome this experience. You also harmed parents who sent their little girls off to school assuming they would be safe.”

Woodcock also sternly admonished Mocarsky for the harm his actions and the ensuing media attention did to the profession of teaching.

“You have dishonored the respected profession of teaching and countless teachers who work hard to transfer intergenerational knowledge to children,” he said. “Your actions put their works under a cloud of suspicion. This is particularly true of a male teacher in the lower grades.”

The former teacher, who also served in the Peace Corps, apologized for his actions.

“I am truly sorry for what I thought and did,” he said shortly before being sentenced. “I want to say I am sorry to each of the children and their families for the grief I have caused and to my colleagues and the community as a whole. I failed all of them and let them down.”

Mocarsky’s attorney, Robert E. Sandy Jr. of Waterville, told Woodcock that it was important to keep in mind that Mocarsky’s actions did not involve a sexual act, did not involve force and no images were transmitted on the Internet.

The prosecution version of events to which Mocarksy pleaded guilty revealed details about the nature of the photographs, discovered in December after a parent complained to the principal that her 5-year-old daughter had been photographed inappropriately while the girl was dressed in a miniskirt and halter top.

Investigators found photographs on an external hard drive at Mocarsky’s home that showed four girls, referred to in the prosecution version as Minors A, B, C and D, “engaging in lascivious displays of their genitals.”

Two of the girls were photographed in bikinis with the bottoms wedged in private areas, according to court documents. Mocarsky had the two others dress in fairy costumes — one blue, the other pink — without their underwear.

The focus of every photograph, according to the prosecution version of events, was each girl’s genitalia.

Two of the pupils in the photos were in Mocarsky’s class during the 2007-08 school year, and the other two he taught during the 2008-09 school year.

Mocarsky was investigated for a similar incident in New Hampshire in 1998 but not charged, according to a previously published report. He left that job and joined the Peace Corps.

Although child pornography produced outside of Maine was found on Mocarsky’s computer, there is no evidence that he uploaded and shared the images he took of his former pupils, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mocarsky faced a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for production of pornography and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, he faced between nearly 22 years and a little more than 27 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Neuman, who prosecuted the case, recommended that Mocarsky be sentenced within the guidelines. Sandy urged the judge to impose the mandatory minimum of 15 years.

Woodcock said the intent of the guidelines was to punish individuals who make and distribute pornography that depicts children having sex with adults.

“The court does view a guideline sentence as extraordinarily punitive for a first-time offender such as Mr. Mocarsky,” Woodcock said Tuesday.

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