Polk teacher facing child porn charges - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk teacher facing child porn charges

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BARTOW, FL (WFLA) -

A veteran Polk County teacher is facing 20 counts of possessing child pornography. He's been with the district for 30 years and has mentored young boys for 22.

Lawrence Douglas Hughes, 59, is being held without bond at the Polk County jail.  Hughes is a research teacher at Union Academy Magnet School in Bartow.

Detectives began an investigation with the Polk County School Board on May 28 when officials learned that a student who was using Hughes' classroom computer saw a warning pop up on the computer that said "you have been viewing or distributing child pornography." 

The student told investigators that Hughes shut down the computer without saying anything about the message. 

Deputies searched two school board computers assigned to Hughes, and they say they found graphic images of boys as young as 12.  There were also images depicting children engaged in sexual acts with adults and each other.  At least 20 of the images have been determined to be child pornography.

When questioned as he was leaving his driveway to go on vacation, investigators say he made an admission.  

"He said, 'I'm addicted to pornography, but I don't download child pornography, but if it downloads, I put it on a thumb drive' said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.  "And I take it to school and put it on the school's computers. Are you kidding me?" said Sheriff Judd.

Detectives served a search warrant Thursday at Hughes' home in Lakeland.  Investigators say they will search any computers they find there for inappropriate material.

Detectives ask that students or parents who have any knowledge of any inappropriate contact that Lawrence Douglas Hughes may have had with children to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 863-298-6200.

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