A substitute teacher from Middletown was charged Friday with possessing and distributing child pornography.
Earlier Friday, the school district announced the teacher had been fired amid an ongoing investigation.
Robert Alan Beck, 50, was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies Friday and charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography and 10 counts related to the distribution of child pornography, said Maj. Tim Clarke, a spokesman for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.
Beck was scheduled to appear before a District Court commissioner later Friday. No other bail information was available as of approximately 1 p.m.
The sheriff’s office started investigating a child pornography case last October when the agency received a tip about an IP address. The tip did not identify Beck as a suspect, just the address, Clarke said. As law enforcement closed in on Beck as a potential suspect, they contacted the school system.
Beck’s last day in a Frederick County Public Schools building was Jan. 19, the day the district learned that Beck was being investigated, said Michael Doerrer, FCPS communications director.
A search warrant was served on Beck’s home Jan. 23, Clarke said. No child pornography was found on FCPS property or equipment, Clarke said.
While Doerrer couldn’t comment on specific circumstances, when the school system learns of an investigation from law enforcement, the district can take several steps to ensure the teacher is not a danger to students. Those steps can include a termination letter and a “no trespass” letter, depending on the case, Doerrer said.
Details of the charges against Beck were unavailable Friday afternoon, but Clarke confirmed that sheriff’s deputies did not believe any Frederick County Public Schools students were harmed or otherwise involved.
“Obviously, we’ll be looking into that, but we don’t believe that to be the case at this point,” Clarke said.
An email from the school system also stated that no Frederick County Public Schools students were harmed by Beck, who worked at schools in the Middletown feeder area.
“We understand that the community wants more details and information about this; we do too,” the district wrote in an email sent out Friday morning. “We will share as much as we can as soon as we can, but we can’t and won’t compromise an investigation in any way.”