by Maxwell Kozlov
This school’s former boys’ gymnastics coach Steven Chan was arrested Thursday night and charged with two counts of possession and one count of dissemination of child pornography.
Chan, 57, who was a math teacher at F.A. Day Middle School, pleaded not guilty to the three charges, and is now being held on a $35,000 cash bail.
Last year, the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) voted to omit boys’ gymnastics as a competing sport, therefore Chan ceased working at this school. This year, the team will be recognized only as a club, without official competitions.
Senior Eric Weiss, who was on the boys’ gymnastics team, said that “a new coach is expected this year, and I’m sure the returning team will keep an open mind.”
Athletic director Tom Giusti refused to comment on the situation.
Sophomore Aaron Schwartz, who was in Chan’s sixth grade math class, made a remark about Chan’s “bubbly” personality.
“Of all the teachers that I’ve ever had, he would be the very last one I would ever suspect of breaking a serious law such as this,” he said.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said that Chan’s arrest was a result from a State Police investigation, and led to a search warrant being executed in Chan’s house.
Fitzgerald said that the search led to thousands of images of young girls, most below the age of 18.
Chan now faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and has admitted to the downloading of the images.
According to superintendent David Fleishman in his letter to the community, the investigation does not include any Newton students.
This arrest comes a year and half after the arrest of David Ettlinger, a former Underwood Elementary School teacher, for his role in an online child pornography ring. Ettlinger was sentenced earlier this year to 45 years in jail.
Fleishman noted, in his letter to the community, that the “news of a Newton teacher’s arrest and arraignment on such serious charges for the second time in a year and a half has a real impact on the entire Newton community.”