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Missouri school custodian charged with possessing child porn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Missouri school custodian is facing child pornography possession charges.

Perry Smith, 53, has been charged with five counts of possession of child pornography in Jackson County.

Smith was a facility manager at Gracemor Elementary School. But the district said after officials learned of the charges, Smith was terminated. District officials don’t believe any of the alleged incidents happened on school property or involved students.

Court documents said investigators with the Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force received nearly two dozen “cybertips” of photos of child pornography allegedly downloaded to Smith’s computer.

Investigators interviewed Smith off school grounds March 7, court documents said. He told those detectives he had been downloading child porn to his computer for about two years and would delete the photos soon after.

When investigators searched Smith’s home and personal computer, they found more than 300 pictures and several videos containing child porn.

Smith also gave consent to have his cellphone searched, where detectives found more deleted child porn, according to court records.

The North Kansas City School District left a voice message for Gracemor parents on Tuesday with the following message:

“First, all is well at school. Gracemor is committed to keeping you informed when important matters arise. We recently learned that a member of our support staff has been charged with possession of child pornography. Our Board of Education has adopted policies that establish expectations for staff behavior. When policies are violated, North Kansas City Schools always takes appropriate action. The staff member has been terminated as a result.

I want to assure you we have no reason to believe any of the alleged activity occurred on school property, nor did it involve our students. Safety and security is a top priority for North Kansas City Schools. We work diligently to ensure all sites are safe places for all.

I regret having to call with such news, but wanted you to be made aware. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or Mrs. Helwig by calling 816-321-5110.”

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