A 33-year-old teaching assistant in the special education program at Anchorage's Huffman Elementary School was arrested this week on federal pornography charges, but none of the materials involve students or computers at the school, authorities say.
Daniel Alan Brown faces distribution and possession of child pornography charges for actions from July 25 through Monday, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by a special agent with the FBI.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McCoy ordered Brown temporarily detained without bail at the Anchorage Correctional Complex as both a danger to the community and a flight risk, during his first court appearance Wednesday morning, assistant U.S. attorney Kyle Reardon said.
Brown was taken into custody shortly after 7 a.m. Monday in the classroom where he worked with special-needs students, Anchorage School District spokeswoman Heidi Embley said. No students were present, and only a few staff members were in the building at the time.
Brown started working for the district as a substitute in 2006 and was hired permanently several months later, Embley said. He worked at several Anchorage schools, including Goldenview and Mears middle schools and Klatt Elementary. He came to Huffman in 2010.
About 70 of Huffman's 390 students are considered special needs, though it's unclear if they all worked with Brown, she said.
The school is leaving it up to parents to talk to students about what happened, according to a letter Huffman principal Darrell Vincek sent home Tuesday afternoon.
In the letter, Vincek says the school is working with authorities and reinforced the school's personal safety and reporting policies. He encouraged parents to speak with their children if they have "concerns about what they're hearing regarding this incident." He also offered help framing what might be a difficult conversation, urging parents to seek him out or get advice from the school nurse.
Brown's next court appearance is Monday morning, Reardon said.
Brown was one of 14 Alaskans nominated last year for an Inclusive Practices Award, offered by the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education to educators who work to give students with special needs the chance to interact with non-disabled students.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing