Ex-Devon Prep teacher faces child porn charges

Joseph Fortunato

A former Devon Preparatory School teacher who resigned earlier this week was arraigned on criminal child pornography charges Wednesday, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Last Thursday state agents executed a search warrant at the Lancaster County home of 60-year-old Joseph Fortunato. According to the Attorney General’s Office, the search was the result of an undercover investigation into the suspected online sharing, downloading, and distribution of child pornography.

Prior to the search, officials said, agents identified several files of interest that were made available for download through an online peer-to-peer network. The computer that shared the images was later identified as one belonging to Fortunato’s home. During the subsequent search agents seized a desktop computer and external hard drive.

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Agents from the Attorney General Office’s computer forensic unit conducted a preliminary analysis of the devices and found suspected child pornography on both, officials said.

According to Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Fortunato worked as a teacher at the Devon Preparatory School until he offered his resignation on Monday, just days after agents searched his home.

In a statement posted to Devon Preparatory School’s website, school officials acknowledged the arrest and indicated none of the charges involved school students.

“None of the allegations against Mr. Fortunato involved Devon Prep students, staff or other faculty members. Devon Prep has never received any complaints about Mr. Fortunato regarding these allegations and there had been no indication of any such  activity. He is not suspected of misusing any computer or network connection while at school,” the statement said.

The school said parents, faculty, and staff were informed of the arrest on Monday evening. The school’s headmaster addressed students about the situation on Wednesday and counseling was made available on campus.

Fortunato taught science, computer science, and math at Devon Prep since 1998. The school urged anyone who may have relevant information to contact the Attorney General’s Office.

Fortunato is charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography, eight counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. Following his arraignment he was released after posting $20,000 cash bail.

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