If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.

The Portland education technician recently charged with multiple sex crimes is now also facing federal child pornography charges.

Benjamin Conroy, 32, was charged Monday in federal court with sexual exploitation of a minor and transportation of child pornography. Both are felonies. The former, a class B felony, carries a penalty of between 15 and 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

He is also facing multiple felonies at the state level, including exploitation of a minor, a Class A crime, after exposing himself to a woman on Portland’s Western Promenade on Oct. 8, according to the Portland Police Department. Conroy, who works in Portland schools, is on administrative leave and forbidden from school grounds. He is also prohibited from contacting any staff or students.

The affidavit filed by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent David Pawson details a series of photos and text messages sent via an online dating app that allegedly show at least six children whom Conroy propositioned. School officials and parents were able to identify many of the victims, according to the affidavit.

The youngest victim appears to be a six-year-old female student with autism who is nonverbal, according to the affidavit. Conroy had been assigned one-on-one education time with her in September.

The investigation began on Oct. 5 after a user of the Grindr app reported receiving a number of disturbing images that seemed to show child abuse to the Portland Police Department. A total of 13 images were shared. Some showed a man in various stages of undress in different locations including outdoors. In some images, a female jogger is shown as well in addition to the man’s exposed genitals.

Other images do not show the man, instead depicting various school aged-children including middle school girls. In the final few images, a child’s hand is shown grasping the man’s genitals. Text messages between the person who reported them to Portland police and allegedly Conroy describe sexual acts between Conroy and the child.

On Oct. 8, Portland police responded to a call in the Western Promenade area of Portland from an adult female who reported being sexually assaulted. A man had placed his penis on the back of her neck and her face while she was seated on a park bench. Bystanders chased down the suspect, who was identified by the victim as Conroy. He was then arrested.

Police were able to connect Conroy to the investigation of the images due to two moles on his upper body. He denied knowing anything about the images depicting the young child, according to the affidavit.

In addition to the photos, police found a 17-second video on an Apple iPhone found during a search of Conroy’s home that showed the sexual act with the young child. Other videos on the device appeared to be taken from the floor or close to it, attempting to look up the skirts or shorts of students and teachers. All appeared to be filmed in a Portland classroom.

The Department of Homeland Security got involved in the case after an investigator with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services contacted them on Oct. 20 about additional allegations of abuse of two juveniles who were students of Conroy’s in another Maine elementary school, according to the affidavit. It’s unclear whether Conroy may face additional charges from those allegations as well.

Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is the senior editor, features, for the Bangor Daily News and the editor of Bangor Metro magazine. She’s the author of “Classic Diners of Maine,” and five cookbooks including “Easy...