Police are investigating two additional cases involving a former Wilton preschool teacher’s aide who was recently arrested on child pornography charges, police said.
Eric Von Kohorn, 33, of 400 Atlantic St., Apt. B2, Bridgeport, was charged on Aug. 20 with possession of child pornography in the first degree and promoting a minor in an obscene performance, according to Connecticut State Police.
Von Kohorn was previously employed as a preschool paraprofessional at Miller Driscoll School for seven years.
The news of his arrest has raised concerns among Wilton families.
“We have two cases, but no information to release,” said Wilton Police Capt. John Lynch. “We’re working closely with the school to investigate any accusations (against Mr. Von Kohorn). Both are open cases. This information came to us recently. The school and the police department have been meeting, and this is a cooperative effort.”
Lynch added, “From the start this case was a state police investigation. We, as a department, heard about the case and checked into it, but it was (the state police’s) investigation from the beginning. Now we have two cases that may be part of the larger investigation. We’re doing everything within our jurisdiction to offer assistance.”
In June, school officials learned Von Kohorn was the subject of an investigation by Connecticut State Police and the Department of Homeland Security.
Von Kohorn was placed on administrative leave on June 11 and resigned five days later, according to school officials.
“A couple of families have come forth with questions based on changes in behavior that they observed in their children and were questioning whether the changes were attributable to any potential contact with Mr. Von Kohorn,” said Wilton Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith.
“What we’re doing as a school district is really trying to be upfront and share as much information as possible. We reached out to the Wilton Police as well as the DCF just to share the questions and concerns parents raised. Police are assisting us to see if there might be something there.”
On Monday, Wilton Public Schools held an informational meeting for parents. The meeting had a mental health professional and a law enforcement official on hand.
“There are some serious concerns and the concerns are whether Mr. Von Kohorn’s behavior went beyond looking at images online. There are some fears that he might have been harming kids. We don’t have any information at this point to suggest that he was harming kids,” said Smith.
“All of the evidence that state police has at this point is he was allegedly viewing and sharing images from his computer at home. They don’t have anything that suggests that he had pictures of Wilton children or was involved hands on.”
Von Kohorn was one of six people arrested by state police in a child pornography roundup on Aug. 20. He was released on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Sept. 3.
Von Kohorn’s attorney, Jason Sheffield, of Peters, Rubin and Sheffield, P.A. released a statement to The Hour on Tuesday via email.
“Mr. Von Kohorn worked at the Wilton preschool for seven years. He was an outstanding advocate and educator for children with special needs. He was respected and beloved by the students, the families and the other teachers. Mr. Von Kohorn has not been sexually inappropriate to any child at Wilton and is cooperating fully with police and Wilton on this matter.
“He has voluntarily taken and passed a polygraph wherein he was asked whether he ever engaged in ‘any sexual activity’ with any child at Wilton — which would include photographing any children for sexual purposes — to which he stated he had not. He hopes that the parents will not rush to judgment and allow him to work with the state as his case proceeds. Jason Sheffield and Bob Rubin, counsel for Mr. Von Kohorn, have been in touch with Kevin Smith, superintendent of the schools, and have pledged full cooperation as the school continues to respect the parents’ concerns and demonstrate that their children were safe at Wilton.”
Source: “Police investigate former Wilton preschool teacher’s aide in two more cases,” by Korey Wilson, The Hour Online, thehour.com, August 26, 2014.