A former top-ranking official with the Bangor School Department on Wednesday admitted to uploading child pornography depicting boys under the age of 12 to his home computer in February.
Alan Kochis, 63, of Brewer pleaded guilty to one count of possession of sexually explicit materials, a Class C crime, at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson agreed to impose an agreed-upon sentence of three years in prison with all but six months suspended to be followed by two years of probation.
The judge ordered Kochis to begin serving his sentence at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor on Jan. 6.
In exchange for Kochis’ plea, Mark Rucci, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, dismissed a misdemeanor charge of possession of sexually explicit material.
Kochis told Anderson that he wanted to take responsibility for his actions. He also said the publicity about the case has been “embarrassing” and had hurt his relationships with family and friends.
“This has strained my relationship with my family and I have lost many friends,” he said. “I have been seeking counseling since August and I want to continue that. I am sorry to all of those I have hurt, and I want to put this sad chapter of my life behind me.”
If Kochis were to violate the terms of his probation, he could be sent back to jail or prison for up to 2 ½ years.
Once he has completed his jail sentence, Kochis will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
The maximum sentence for a Class C felony is five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
He was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury last month and was expected to plead not guilty Wednesday. It is unusual for such a high-profile case to be resolved so quickly.
Kochis’ attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein, said that although Kochis had been employed by the Bangor School Department, he worked at Bangor City Hall and did not interact with students. He also did not use school department equipment to view child pornography, Silverstein said.
Kochis, who resigned from his job as the school department’s finance director in August, was accused of uploading a sexually explicit image of two young boys.
He remains free on $500 cash bail.
Bail conditions include no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18. He also may not access the internet except to access email on one cell phone.
State police searched Kochis’ home in May, seized electronic devices and allegedly found more than 200 sexually explicit images of children. Kochis had downloaded sexually explicit photos and videos to a computer on which he used his Bangor School Department email address as a login credential, according to a court affidavit.
Maine State Police received a report of the image Kochis uploaded from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which monitors child pornography possession and dissemination online.
Law enforcement officials traced the image to Kochis using his device’s Internet Protocol, or IP, address.
Kochis had worked for the Bangor School Department since 1997. As the top finance official, he helped to formulate the school department’s annual budget and oversaw its accounting system.
In addition to his position at the Bangor School Department, Kochis also served as a high school football and basketball referee in the Bangor area as well as a statistician at University of Maine athletic games. He gave up those duties this summer.