Middle school principal, former "Teacher of Year" charged with child porn

Published: Mar. 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2013 at 4:22 PM EDT
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Darin Pearson
Darin Pearson

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - A middle school principal, and former "Teacher of the Year," has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of sex crimes against children.

Darin Pearson, 32, is charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a news release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

"Had no clue," Rock Hill School District #3 Spokesperson Elaine Baker said. "No nothing, thought he was a great guy."

On Thursday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department received information from the Metro Nashville Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The information involved Pearson, who was involved in trading child pornography photographs, according to the release.

Police, along with agents from the State Bureau of Investigation searched Pearson's residence.  After the seizure and examination of several electronic devices, evidence was located connecting Pearson to child pornography.

Neighbors say Pearson was a likeable guy who loved his career. One man, who didn't want to be identified, said he saw numerous police when he arrived home from work but didn't know what exactly was going on. "I just hope it's not true," he said.

The school district says officers notified officials on Friday morning about the arrest.

Pearson is an assistant principal at Sullivan Middle School. The school's website list him as the administrator over the 6th grade class.

Sullivan Middle school parents are concerned. Police alerted the school district about the arrest and then parents were notified about the arrest Friday morning. Parents now plan to talk to their kids about this situation.

"I am going to have a few conversations with them," Sullivan MS Parent Jessica Alejandro said. "With their father and we are going to talk to them, so they know what's going on. And if they have anything to say to us then I would like for them to tell me."

School officials told WBTV that Pearson, who has served as an assistant principal at Sullivan since July 2007, has been placed on administrative leave.

He has also served as a teacher at Sullivan from August 2002 until May 2007 and was a substitute teacher prior to that time.

Pearson was named Sullivan Middle School's "Teacher of the Year" in 2007.

School officials say they have no evidence students at Sullivan were victims.

"We don't expect it involves any student at Sullivan," Baker said. "And we hope it does not."

According to CMPD, there is currently no information that leads detectives to believe any assaults on children have occurred in Charlotte.

Rock Hill School District officials recommend parents talk with their children and calling police, if necessary.

"Rock Hill school officials will work with the CMPD on their investigation, as requested," school officials told WBTV. "In a meeting this morning with officials from the Rock Hill Police Dept., district officials were informed that there has not been an investigation in the past or one currently involving Mr. Pearson."

CMPD is now working with the US Attorney's officer concerning this case.

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