Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eric Achenbach - Teacher charged with Child Porn after his stash is discovered

A teacher at Brattleboro Union High School was placed on administrative leave after a pair of hunters discovered child pornography near his property.

According to court documents, Eric Achenbach, 59, of Vernon, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of possession of child pornography. Achenbach teaches digital media, computer graphics and programming at BUHS.

When police confronted Achenbach about ownership of the chest found by the hunters, he admitted it was his and told police that he had hidden it in the woods seven to eight years ago, after he moved from Dover. Achenbach also admitted to knowing that the chest contained child pornography.

He told police he obtained "a large amount of the material while at the Downtown Campus," an off-site branch of BUHS that was located on Main Street. Achenbach also told police that hard drives found in his home Dec. 12 contained child pornography.

His computer was confiscated and is being analyzed by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Two hunters from Vernon were in the woods behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Route 142 on Nov. 29 when they discovered a wooden platform with several loose planks.

When the two men moved the planks, they found a black plastic bag containing a purple-colored chest. The men opened the chest and found that it contained child pornography.

After returning the chest to where they found it, the men notified Vernon police and led them to the platform.

Upon first inspection, police found pictures of adult males engaging in sexual acts with prepubescent girls. The chest was brought to the Vernon Police Department where members of the Southeastern Unit for Special Investigations catalogued its contents.

The chest was discovered to contain three-ring binders categorized by age with pictures of children as young as infants to the age of 15 either in sexually explicit poses or engaging in sexual acts with an adult.

Also in the chest were various pictures of pornography with Achenbach digitally imposed into the photos, according to Deputy Sheriff Mark Anderson, who spends three days a week as a special investigator for the Windham County State's Attorney's Office.

Anderson is also BUHS' student resource officer.

Achenbach was identified because the chest contained papers with his name on them and a picture of him with his 1981 class at Deerfield Elementary School in Wilmington. Other identifying items included several envelopes addressed to Achenbach and a folder labeled "me," which contained pictures of the accused.

The investigation was conducted by SUSI, with members from the Windham County Sheriff's Department and the Vernon and Brattleboro police departments.

Achenbach was released with the conditions that he not come into contact with anyone under 16 years old and that he not use computers or the Internet. If tried and convicted of the charge, he could spend up to five years in jail. He could also be fined up to $10,000.

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