UPDATED STATEMENT FROM SUPERINTENDENT DR. CHUCK EPPS:

“The District learned of an employee’s arrest yesterday, Thursday, February 28.  Soon after the District learned of the arrest, the employee resigned. At no time has the district been contacted by law enforcement about this arrest. The only information we have about the allegations is what has been reported in the media. If and when we are contacted by law enforcement, we will cooperate fully with any investigation. In times like these we understand and share the concerns and frustrations of the community. We will continue to safeguard our students in every way possible and offer any support needed.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

Several media outlets are reporting the arrest of Fort Mill High School teacher Eric Hartley on federal child pornography charges.

There has been no connection made with his job or the school.

The school district declined to name the teacher in its only statement to the Fort Mill Sun: “On Thursday, February 28, 2019, Fort Mill School District administrators and Fort Mill High School administrators learned of the arrest of an employee. The employee has resigned their position with the district. The district cannot comment on any investigations and has not been contacted by law enforcement at this time. Any questions regarding the investigation should be directed to law enforcement.”

Hartley, a computer science teacher, is accused of planning to distribute child pornography, according to a report by Fox 46. He was reportedly arrested Thursday. He’s being detained and has a preliminary hearing set for March 5, Fox 46 reported. 

Hartley appeared Thursday in federal court in Charlotte, according to The Rock Hill Herald. Federal magistrate judge David Cayer ordered that Hartley be jailed, the newspaper reported.

The case remains sealed since there is a second defendant, WSOC TV reported. The case reportedly stems out of Prince William County, Va., but details remain sealed because there is another defendant involved.

Prosecutors said Hartley conspired with others to distribute child porn between September and October 2016, the TV station reported. Several FMHS parents have expressed anger and disappointment over a lack of communication about the arrest, the TV station said.

Conspiracy to distribute child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and up to 20 years. Offenders are also required to pay a $250,000 fine, and five years to a lifetime of supervised release following imprisonment.