A teacher at Seattle Academy, a Capitol Hill private middle school, has been charged after federal investigators acting on a tip from a family member say thousands of images showing young girls from a Ukranian “softcore child pornography ring” were found on the 41-year-old’s laptop .
Though he was adamant he never touched any of his students, investigators say Gabe Cronin admitted he had “morphed” student faces onto the pornographic images:
Cronin was arrested last week and charged with one count of possession of child pornography.
He taught at the 12th and Union private academy for more than a decade. Investigators say Cronin told them he was addicted to the pornography and had been battling to control his urges since he was a teen, going so far as to sell his computer and cancel his internet at one point to try to curb the behavior. Investigators say Cronin told them he sought therapy but the sessions did not stop his addiction. After Cronin turned to family for help beginning in 2015, investigators say a cousin disturbed by the situation decided to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children earlier this month to report Cronin’s activities.
The Seattle Academy announced last week that Cronin was being investigated for online “sexual misconduct,” and posted this an announcement (PDF) from the school that it had suspended the 41-year-old:
Seattle Academy has placed one of its faculty members, science teacher Gabe Cronin, on immediate administrative leave after being informed by law enforcement that he is under formal investigation on suspicion of engaging in sexual misconduct online. This investigation has been referred to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.
“Seattle Academy has received no information that any current or former Seattle Academy student has been the subject of inappropriate conduct,” the statement reads.