James Shannon Arnett, a Lakeland, Florida high school teacher, was arrested Wednesday after police found child pornography on a USB thumb drive belonging to him, news sources report. Arnett, 41, was booked into the Polk County Jail on two counts of possession of child pornography. He is being held without bail bond. Reports did not specify an attorney for Arnett.
According to reports, Arnett works as a teacher and an assistant football coach/defensive coordinator at Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland. It was not immediately clear what classes Arnett teaches or how long his has been working at the school. There is no indication that there have ever been complaints about Arnett in the past.
So far, Lake Gibson and its mother district have remained mum regarding the allegations against Arnett. It is unclear how the charges will affect Arnett’s position with the school, nor is it known whether Arnett will be allowed to continue working for the district in an administrative capacity if he is released pending trial.
The incident began on Tuesday when a publicly unidentified student found a thumb drive in the school courtyard. The student looked over the contents of the drive and discovered illicit pornography, sources say. The student gave the drive to a PCSO School Resource deputy and told him what it contained. Sources say the student, who has a 12-year-old sister, found the content of the USB very upsetting.
Sometime previously, Arnett reported a thumb drive missing to the same PCSO School Resource deputy. Arnett told the deputy that the thumb drive contained defensive football strategies, so its recovery was important. Arnett reported that he had dropped the drive in the school bathroom.
Detectives inspected the thumb drive, which they were somehow able to confirm belonged to Arnett, sources say. The drive did contain defensive football strategies, but a deeper look allegedly revealed images of girls between the ages of 13 and 17, fully clothed but with the image focusing on the girl’s breasts and buttocks. Some of the girls appeared to be students at Lake Gibson High School, detectives indicated. Several pictures appear to have been taken in a classroom, while others appear to have been snapped at a track and field area.
Additional photos found on the drive allegedly depicted young girls posing seductively. Some of the images were of girls dressed in nothing but bathing suits, with their legs spread and the focus of the image on their genitals, sources say. Detectives apparently found one photo of a 10-12 year-old performing oral sex on an adult man, as well as a photo of a 9-11 year-old girl groping a man’s genitals.
Detectives seized Arnett’s work computer and found more images of young girls believed to be LGHS students; it is unclear whether those images were sexually explicit. Arnett’s work computer also allegedly contained an image of a man masturbating, police say. Detectives are currently conducting an investigation; it is unclear whether they are looking for specific victims at the high school. So far, it is unclear whether Arnett actually took any of the pictures found on the thumb drive.
Source: 5.13.13 Arnett Chil Porn.pdf,