Polk Co. coach arrested for child porn

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Polk County deputies have arrested a high school coach on charges of child pornography.

He's identified as Assistant Football Coach-Defensive Coordinator James Shannon Arnett, 41.

He is employed at Lake Gibson High School, according to a sheriff's statement.

Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters Thursday afternoon that the case began to unfold when a student found a thumb drive at school and later looked at it.

Judd said the student saw hundred of pictures including candid shots of female students at Lake Gibson High, child erotica and child pornographic images taken from the Internet.

The student, Judd said, became very upset and took the thumb drive to a school resource officer.

Investigators determined the drive belonged to Arnett.

Arnett was arrested after school hours on Wednesday and, Judd said, he admitted to having "a problem."

Judd quickly added, "We're going to be a big problem for him..."

During the news conference, Judd said the thumb drive was 98% full and included photos of nude women, hundreds of high school-aged girls that were clothed, and two pictured considered to be child porn. The drive also included photos of girls from Lake Gibson High in provocative positions.  Judd said it appeared the girls in the photos did not know they were being photographed.

Judd is concerned Arnett may have been "grooming" female students and said investigators want to hear from students who have been in contact with Arnett.

Arnett was an In-School Suspension teacher and has four children of his own.  Judd said there are no indications they have been abused.

Arnett is charged with two counts of child porn and using the Internet to engage in such conduct.

ABC Action News Reporter Ryan Raiche is gathering more on the developing story and will have the newest details on Action News at 5pm.

Polk County Schools released the following statement on the investigation:

"It has been reported that Polk County Sheriff's deputies have arrested Lake Gibson High School ESE teacher and assistant football coach James Shannon Arnett.  Mr. Arnett has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the District will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials.  The matter is also being investigated internally.
Crisis counselors will be on site at Lake Gibson High School tomorrow.
Mr. Arnett is 41 years old and makes $44,749 annually.  From 1997 until 2003 he was employed as a teacher at Lakeland High School.  He taught at Lake Gibson High School from 2003 until 2008, when he left the district.  He returned to Lake Gibson High School in his present capacity in 2011."

 

 

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