A Manchester, New Hampshire, gym teacher has been arrested after he allegedly used a social media site to convince a young girl into sending him inappropriate pictures of herself.
Paul Johnson-Yarosevich, 34, of Acton, Maine, is charged with prohibited use of computer services. He has worked for the Manchester School District at Parker Varney Elementary School since 2005. He was able to make $5,000 cash bail at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections, and has a court date set for May 21.
Manchester Police detectives began an investigation on Dec. 6, 2014 after receiving a report from the father of a pre-teen girl who attends a Manchester elementary school. The girl said the crime involved a social media site with an unknown subject who was posing as a young girl.
"She thought she had befriended someone of the same gender and age and it started getting a bit provocative and some images were exchanged and she felt alarmed enough to notify her father," Manchester Police Lt. Brian O'Keefe said.
The investigation revealed that she was corresponding with Johnson-Yarosevich. The girl had shared inappropriate photos of herself with Johnson-Yarosevich, at his request, according to police.
Police executed a search warrant at his Maine home on Friday, and notified the Manchester School District about the investigation at that time as well. Police detectives, school administrators and Johnson-Yarosevich all met at school district headquarters on Monday.
Due to the sensitivity of the case, police said no further details will be released until the completion of the investigation. They said it is too early to say whether this was an isolated incident, so the investigation remains open.
Police said they are continuing to work closely with the school district.
Lt. O'Keefe says the young victim did everything right by notifying her father, but adds that parents should take responsibility for what their kids are doing online before it turns dangerous.
"This is a prime example of a parent thinking their child is safe, conversing with someone their same age, when in fact it was a predator," he said.
The Manchester School District issued a statement on Monday saying that Johnson-Yarosevich has been placed on unpaid leave.
"We are fully cooperating with the police investigation into his alleged criminal conduct," the statement said. "The Manchester School District condemns the behavior alleged in this case and has taken swift and immediate action to ensure the safety and security of our students."
Manchester Superintendent Dr. Debra Livingston says there is no indication there are other victims. She also says a social media safety forum is in the works for parents within the next month.