Cops: Monroe County teacher admits to possessing child pornography

William Britt faces 123 counts of possessing child pornography

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KEY WEST, Fla. - A substitute teacher in the Monroe County School District was charged with 123 counts of possessing child pornography.

William Britt, 55, was arrested Thursday.

According to the Monroe County School District, Britt was removed from the substitute teacher roster when the Monroe County Sheriff's Office contacted them about the investigation.

Authorities said Britt told detectives he knows he is "sick." He claimed never to have touched children, but said he has been involved in many community groups involving children's activities, detectives said. Authorities said Britt told them he works at schools because he enjoys the company.

School officials said Britt passed all background screenings prior to his hiring. They said there was no indication Britt committed misconduct as a role as a teacher.

Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter issued a statement, saying: "Regardless of the outcome of the continuing investigation this is a tragic circumstance for our community and the school district will cooperate fully with our law enforcement officials to respond to this situation.  The safety and protection of children is and always will be of greatest importance to the Monroe County Schools."

The sheriff's office said the investigation started after Britt's former landlord told them he saw child pornography in a box as he was helping Britt move out of his Cudjoe Key residence earlier in November. The landlord told Deputy Anthony Fuentes he had evicted Britt because of a lack of sanitation and cleanliness, authorities said. Detectives said the landlord grabbed several pictures and one video to show them.

Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo was assigned to investigate. During the course of his investigation, Cuervo discovered Britt had been working as a substitute teacher at Sugarloaf School and had worked at other schools in the lower Keys as well. At the time of the investigation, Britt was applying for a substitute position at Glynn Archer School. Authorities said Cuervo notified the school district about the investigation and asked them to work with him in an attempt to find out where Britt was now living. Detectives said school district authorities cooperated fully with the investigation.

Detectives said an investigation revealed Britt moved to the Sigsbee Naval Air station after leaving Cudjoe Key. Britt is reportedly retired from the military. Once they were notified, military authorities worked with detectives on the case, authorities said.

On November 8th, after Britt was interviewed for a job at Glynn Archer Elementary School, Detective Cuervo, assisted by other detectives from his unit, conducted a traffic stop on his van, detectives said.

Britt was confronted about the information and evidence against him, authorities said. That's when, investigators said, Britt admitted to possessing child pornography.

According to authorities, two guns -- a loaded handgun and a sawed off shotgun -- were found in the van, along with a video depicting nude children.

Britt consented to a search of the recreational vehicle he was staying in on base, authorities said. Detectives said Britt cooperated with them and handed over 123 printed images depicting minor children engaging in sexual conduct.

Detectives said Britt told them he had numerous computer hard drives and USB storage devices containing more child pornography. All the equipment was seized and the investigation is continuing, authorities said.

Britt was arrested and was being held on no bond, authorities said. In addition to being charged with 123 counts of possessing child pornography, Britt was also charged with an outstanding warrant for possession of seven counts of possessing child pornography from the initial case earlier in November, authorities said.

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