Woman accused of Internet pornography Severna Park resident provided child care

October 31, 1998|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Kirsten Scharnberg contributed to this article.

A 53-year-old woman who cared for elementary schoolchildren, including some of police officers', in her house on a tree-lined street in Severna Park has been arrested on charges of transmitting pornographic images over the Internet under the screen name AngelGIN.

Christine C. McKay of the 300 block of Riverdale Road was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. She was released on $10,000 bond.

The arrest came three months after an undercover sheriff's deputy in San Bernadino County, Calif., received a pornographic image of a female child and traced it to a computer in McKay's house.

Authorities in California contacted Anne Arundel police, who arrested McKay Wednesday.

"They barged in the house, the sergeant even had a bulletproof vest on," McKay said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I don't know what he thought he was going to find. I am just a little old lady."

When police arrived, she was baby-sitting a 3-month-old boy, she said. Officers detained her while they searched the house. They also called the boy's parents to get him and told them to take him to a doctor to check for signs of abuse, McKay said.

Police took McKay to the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters in Crownsville, where she admitted having about 100 pornographic photographs of children and adults on her hard drive, police said. She also said she sent and received images on an America Online account registered to her 18-year-old daughter, police said.

McKay said yesterday she "didn't realize it was illegal to have the images." She said that the pictures were sent to her unsolicited and she forwarded them when she received e-mail requests to do so.

"I was just looking with more curiosity than anything else," she said. "I would think, in my mind, I am glad this wasn't my kid. But if someone sent it, I would look. I am not doing anything for gratification, for heaven's sake."

She said she does not know why she began receiving the images or why people sent messages to her asking for the pictures.

"I can't believe it," said her husband, Carroll McKay. "We've been married 28 years and lived here 26 years. If she was weird, I would have noticed."

County police took her computer to the Maryland State Police Computer Crime Unit in Columbia, where detectives are trying to retrieve the messages and images stored on her hard drive.

AOL spokeswoman Tricia Primrose said the online service usually can retrieve about three weeks' worth of messages.

McKay was a licensed day care provider for 16 years. The children of two county police officers, a sergeant and a captain, were among her charges. She said she let her license lapse in February because she hoped to retire.

She watched about eight children at a time, charging $75 a week. The Pasadena Elementary School bus made a stop in front of her wooden house with the wishing well on the front lawn to drop off children after school.

Police said they are investigating whether the children McKay cared for were involved.

News of her arrest come as a shock to those who had left their children with her.

"I was appalled," said Gisele Griffin, whose daughter stayed with McKay after school for a year. "I sold her a vehicle and, over a period of a year, I had many conversations with here. I guess we all have our black sides."

Griffin said Sarah's only complaint was that McKay snapped at her.

Police also confiscated small quantities of marijuana and paraphernalia and charged Kelly Ann McKay, 18, with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Pub Date: 10/31/98

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