Originally Published: May 22, 2007 11:34 p.m.
PRESCOTT - A Prescott Unified School District teacher is in jail on felony charges stemming from child pornography police say they found on his personal laptop after the district noted suspicious activity on his school computer.
David C. Chauncey, 58, of Prescott, faces 10 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
Chauncey is the second PUSD teacher in a year to face child pornography charges. He has taught English at Prescott High School for the past three years.
Prescott Police Lt. Ken Morley said Chauncey tried to access a known child pornography Web site on his school computer.
"Once we started looking into his school computer, we saw that he was trying to access child pornography, which in turn gave us the information
necessary to write a search warrant on his home computer," Morley said. "That's where we got all the images from."
Detectives retrieved 70,000 images from his school computer and personal laptop, Morley said, and the majority of them involved children.
Police selected 10 photos, which depict children as young as toddlers in lewd acts, Morley said.
"We take the most prosecutable images," he said. "We have known victims in some of the images, but nobody from the immediate area."
If convicted on the attempt count, Morley said, Chauncey could face lifetime probation under the sex offender terms.
Morley said they have no indication that the suspect had been passing on child pornography images.
"It is almost like an underground network," he said. "They have different sites where they can sign up for and different sites they can pay money to retrieve these things."
Many sites originate overseas.
"Once it hits networks here in the United States, that's when it becomes controlled and illegal," Morley said.
PUSD Superintendent Kevin Kapp said two months ago, on his request, the computer department installed a program that monitors every computer in the school district.
"They picked up some activity on (Chauncey's) school computer ... They were glamour photography sites of adult women," Kapp said. "It wasn't pornography. (But) that concerned us and we went ahead and confiscated his computer."
"Anytime a teacher does any kind of unprofessional conduct, we have to report it and we should," Kapp said. "Looking at glamour photos of models at work is inappropriate."
The district's investigation indicated that Chauncey visited numerous adult sites, Kapp said. The district reported it to the Prescott Police Department and the Arizona State Board of Education.
While the police were investigating the case, the district placed Chauncey on administrative leave, and in early April, the board opted not to renew his teaching contract, Kapp said.
"He was terminated at the end of his contract," which concludes on Friday, Kapp said. "The vote was four-to-one. Mr. (Tom) Staley wanted to terminate him."
Because he was on contract, Kapp reassigned Chauncey to work at the district office away from the classroom.
"The reasoning here was he still had a class full of students up at the high school that were writing papers and there was a lot of work to be done for these kids to graduate and pass the course," Kapp said. "He was never allowed on campus."
Other high school teachers would bring the students' work for him to grade and deliver back to the students, Kapp said.
Kapp said PUSD personnel learned of the monitoring after the district confiscated Chauncey's computer.
"The previous case of Mr. Anderson prompted us to ... investigate programs that would not be overly expensive," Kapp said. "They found one and it worked."
James Lynn Anderson, a former Prescott Mile High Middle School teacher, is serving a 10-year prison term after pleading guilty to five felonies stemming from child pornography. He was a district employee from 1979 until his July 2006 arrest.
Chauncey retired in California after 30 years of teaching, Kapp said. His references were positive and a fingerprint check came back clear when the district hired him three years ago.
Kapp said the two cases do not reflect on the excellent performance, ethics and professionalism of other teachers.
"We have hundreds of teachers that make good choices and that do a wonderful job everyday and these two individuals are in the very small minority," Kapp said. "Even the allegations are extremely disturbing to me - that adults will make these types of choices."
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