Ex-Carroll teacher guilty of possessing child porn

March 03, 2006|By GINA DAVIS | GINA DAVIS,SUN REPORTER

A former Carroll County teacher was found guilty yesterday of using a school-issued laptop to view images of children engaged in sexual acts while he was teaching last year at Sykesville Middle School.

Paul George Page, 52, of the 800 block of Star Court in Union Bridge was given a one-year suspended sentence and a year of probation for one count of possessing child pornography.

District Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones also ordered Page - who initially was charged with seven counts of possessing child pornography - to serve 50 hours of community service, forfeit his personal computer and have no contact with anyone younger than 18, except his 17-year-old son.

With a quivering voice, Page read from a statement as he apologized to friends and family for his "moral lapse of judgment."

"I want to stress how sorry I am for what I've done," he said. "I know it was morally and legally wrong."

Page was a technology education teacher at Sykesville Middle School in June when an employee in the information technology department told the school's principal that Page had viewed child pornography on the laptop, court records and school officials said.

Page's attorney, Thomas Morrow, argued yesterday that his client's access to pornography had been nothing more than "morbid curiosity" and asked for a more lenient ruling of probation before judgment.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer L. Darby told the judge that investigators had found a total of 89 pornographic images on the school-issued laptop and Page's home computer, which police seized during their investigation.

"He was actually seeking it out, on school property during the school day," Darby said.

Page, who began teaching industrial arts and technology at Sykesville Middle in 1977, was placed on administrative leave in June, school officials said. He retired from the school system shortly thereafter, said Carey Gaddis, schools spokeswoman.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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