Police investigate claims of child pornography at church day care

10:00 PM, May 18, 2010   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

KSDK -- The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating an incident allegedly involving child pornography at a local day care center run by St. Simon the Apostle Church in Affton.

On April 23, members of the Special Investigation Unit confiscated one computer inside Simon Says Early Childhood Center. Eighty students attend Simon Says, which is on the grounds of St. Simon.

The Special Investigation Unit tracks the distribution of child porn in St. Louis. Police sources tell NewsChannel 5 several people had access to the computer, but since this is an on-going investigation, parents have not been told much.

"Things are being handled appropriately. Parents were informed of as much as we could be. I think we need to see what authorities find out," said parent Maureen Brummet.

A spokesperson with the Archdiocese e-mailed KSDK, saying no one would be available to comment. The spokesperson also forwarded a copy of the letter sent to all parents:

"Simon Says Early Childhood Center was visited by the St. Louis County Police Department on April 23. While at the center, officials removed a computer that is not part of day-to-day operations. We have no reason to believe that the safety or well-being of any student of St. Simon or Simon Says has been compromised. We are working with St. Louis County law enforcement and will keep you apprised of any developments as we become aware of them.

"Let me assure you, your child's safety and well being are of utmost concern to each of us at St. Simon, and we are committed to maintaining a safe environment for our students. If you have any questions, comments, or information that you wish to share with the school, please feel free to contact us.

"Again, we will keep you updated as we learn additional information."

The letter does not mention that the investigation was focusing on child pornography, but parents we spoke too seemed to know what police were targeting.

One parent who is very concerned agreed to talk if we hid his identity.

"We learned it's about child pornography. Right now, I'm not comfortable and I'm thinking about pulling him out of school," he said.

Other parents were satisfied their children are safe.

"I wanted to make sure, if I wasn't given any information that my immediate teachers who I have a relationship with, that I felt safe leaving them, which I did," said parent Tara Siewing.

Forensics specialists are analyzing the seized computer. They're looking to see if child porn was downloaded, or sent out from that computer and whether they can link it to someone who had access.  Police would not tell us what led them to the day care center computer.



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