Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco after-school program administrator arrested on child porn charges

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PORT RICHEY — An FBI task force raided the home of a Schrader Elementary after-school program administrator on Monday and found more than 100 compact discs filled with child pornography, as well as numerous lewd pictures sent and received over electronic communications, authorities said.

Kenneth Dempsey, 52, was arrested and charged with receipt and possession of child pornography, a federal offense. Dempsey lives with his 6-year-old adopted son, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Tampa, at 9629 Morehead Lane in Port Richey. A spokesman for the FBI said the agency plans to release additional information about the well-being of the child at a later date.

Members of the task force found Dempsey through a photo sharing website called Shutterfly.com. According to the complaint, investigators found emails linked to a specific member group on the site. The group contained more than 17,000 images of child pornography, most depicting underage boys.

From there, they found Dempsey. The complaint said he uploaded 21 images and nine videos that showed sex acts between underage boys.

Investigators traced his Internet protocol address to his home. After the raid, he admitted sending and receiving child pornography from his email address as recently as April 20. He led them to an air conditioning vent in the wall, which had to be unscrewed to access. Inside, investigators found the compact discs.

Dempsey denied having committed any hands-on offenses with children, the complaint states.

Dempsey's neighbors said he is meticulous about his lawn and mowed it every day. All of them described him as odd. Many said he would get up at 6:30 every morning, come outside, and do a "perimeter check," driving around and staring down the rows in between his house, and others.

"He had a wife and his wife left," Nick Marrero, 26, a neighbor across the street said. "He was OCD as hell."

Dempsey was not friendly and would never wave when waved at, Marrero said.

Another neighbor, Brenda Pippi, said Dempsey was "just weird all around."

She said he has lived in the neighborhood for at least five years, and that he used to live with a woman and two kids, but they left suddenly one day. He kept to himself.

"You hear stories on TV about this kind of thing and you think 'why didn't the neighbors do anything,' " she said. "But you can see why. He was squeaky clean."

Pippi said she never witnessed any abuse or yelling with the young boy when the two were outside working on the lawn.

Dempsey does not have a criminal record in Florida.

Pasco County School District spokeswoman Linda Cobb said Dempsey is a site administrator at the PLACE after-school activity program, operated by the School Board. He has been with Pasco schools for more than 20 years, she said, working his way up from instructional assistant to child care assistant to his current position, where he makes $28,719 a year.

"We'll review the charges and in all likelihood he'll be suspended without pay," Cobb said.

It is certainly possible he had unsupervised contact with children, she said, and the FBI is investigating that. The School Board plans to contact parents and ask them to notify authorities if they have questions or concerns. She said Dempsey has a clean record, and there were no indications of unscrupulous behavior.

Dempsey's elderly parents declined to comment when a reporter knocked on their door, and a request for comment from his ex-wife was not returned.

According to his federal case file, Dempsey is considered a flight risk. He has a bond hearing in federal court this week.

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