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Pasco Tribune

Pasco school employee faces federal child porn charges

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Published:   |   Updated: April 23, 2014 at 01:33 PM

— The assistant site manager for a Pasco County school’s after-school childcare program was arrested on child pornography charges after an FBI investigation revealed he had sent and received numerous pornographic images of children from a computer in his home since August, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

Kenneth Dempsey, 52, faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years if he is convicted on the charges, officials said.

Dempsey, who was arrested Monday, has been placed on leave from his job at Schrader Elementary pending further investigation, according to the Pasco County school district. He continues to be paid because only the school board can place an employee on unpaid leave, and the board does not meet again until May 6.

Dempsey helped operate the PLACE program at Schrader Elementary. PLACE, which stands for Pasco Learning and Activity Centers of Enrichment, provides before and after-school child care to students.

Mary Grey, director of the district’s PLACE programs, informed parents about Dempsey’s arrest Tuesday night in an automated telephone message. In addition to Schrader parents, the message also went to parents of students at Fox Hollow Elementary and Gulf Highlands Elementary because Dempsey had worked with those schools’ PLACE programs during winter and spring breaks, said Linda Cobbe, district spokeswoman.

In her message, Grey said the district had no indication “that Mr. Dempsey acted inappropriately with any of our children,” but she said parents with concerns could contact the Tampa FBI office. She provided the telephone number.

“These charges are shocking to all of us, and we find it extremely disturbing that one of our staff members has been accused of this crime,” Grey said in the message. “Please know that your child’s safety is our top priority.”

Dempsey has worked off and on for the Pasco County school district in various positions since 1987, according to district records. He has been assistant site manager for the Schrader PLACE program since April 18, 2011.

The FBI conducted its investigation in conjunction with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

A bond hearing for Dempsey, who is being held in the Pinellas County Jail, is scheduled for Thursday.

rblair@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1853

Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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