, who faces charges of child pornography possession after allegedly pornographic pictures were found in his
stolen backpack Sunday.
NORTHAMPTON - A preschool teacher with connections to a Northampton church and other institutions that involve young people pleaded innocent Thursday to 11 charges of possessing child pornography. Edgar L. Selavka
, 49, of 7 Treehouse Circle, Apt. 2, in Easthampton was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail and $50,000 surety after his
arraignment in Northampton District Court.
Police arrested him at 2 p.m. Thursday when he
turned himself in to police after an investigation.Selavka had reported that his backpack was stolen Sunday from the Edwards Church in Northampton, where he had been working as director of religious education.
The contents were found soon after in a stall in a men's bathroom at Thornes Marketplace.The contents appeared to include nine collages of photographs of children, some of which authorities termed pornographic, and two computer disks with pornographic images. He is now on administrative leave from two jobs that put him in contact with children: at the Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education at Fort Hill, where he worked as a preschool teacher, and from the Edwards Church religious education program.Selavka had previously worked at People's Institute on Gothic Street in Northampton for three years as a kindergarten teacher.
As a condition of his
eventual release, Selavka
was ordered to stay away from the Edwards Church
, the Fort Hill program and the People's Institute
.In addition, he
was barred from any contact with youngsters under 18 years of age, and any contact he
has with his
own children must be supervised. Prosecutor Renee L. Steese told Northampton District Court judge William B. McDonough Thursday that Selavka admitted to using a computer at Edwards Church to view pornography.
A Smith College spokeswoman told the Gazette that Selavka
was suspended from his
position as an assistant teacher at the preschool on Wednesday, after the school learned of the investigation.
Stolen backpackAccording to court documents, Selavka
reported to police on Sunday at 12:11 p.m. that his
knapsack had been stolen from an office at Edwards Church
.The knapsack contained his
checkbook and other items.
...Out of the non-pornographic images, several photos were of a girl who had been a student of Selavka's when he worked as a kindergarten teacher at the People's Institute.
One of the disks found by police contained curriculum from Edwards Church
and documents written by Selavka
.A second disk contained 25 images of child pornography and a third contained 59 images of child pornography.
Interviewed by police, Selavka
initially denied ownership of the pornographic material, but when he
was interviewed a second time, Selavka
admitted all of the property was his
, according to reports.Selavka also admitted he used computers both at Edwards Church, where he was employed as a Sunday school teacher, and at his home to access web sites with child pornography.
According to court documents, Selavka
had made the collages for sexual purposes.
A social worker is expected to speak to parents about ways to help their children understand why Selavka
is no longer at the school."Most of the concern is how to answer questions," she
said of the program's parents.
Cole said police have told the school that there is no evidence that children attending Fort Hill were depicted in pornographic photographs that Selavka
allegedly had in his possession.
Fort Hill itself had encountered no problems with Selavka
, Cole said.
was hired to work full time for the program last August.