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October 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Northshore school substitute accused of child-porn possession

A 72-year-old substitute teacher for the Northshore School District was arrested at his Woodinville home on Wednesday after a computer technician found sexual images of young children on the Apple iMac the teacher had brought in to be fixed, according to Kirkland police.

Kurtis Kasner was ordered held on $500,000 bail on Thursday and is expected to be formally charged on Monday with possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said Friday.

Kasner was a school teacher in California for 30 years before moving to Washington, according to the statement of probable cause outlining the police case against him. Since 2000, he’s been a substitute teacher for the Northshore School District, which covers the cities of Bothell, Woodinville and Kenmore and parts of unincorporated King County.

“We are deeply disturbed by this,” said Leanna Albrecht, the district’s communications director. She said the district is not aware “of any inappropriate conduct with students during the time he was with the district.”

This school year, Kasner has taught grades 3 through 6 in 13 of the district’s 20 elementary schools, Albrecht said. Substitute teachers undergo the same hiring process as full-time employees, and Kasner underwent a criminal background check and reference check before he was added to the “sub pool,” she said.

After the district was notified of Kasner’s arrest by Kirkland police on Thursday, he was removed from the list of approved substitute teachers and will no longer work for the district, said Albrecht.

She said a letter is being sent home to parents on Friday to inform families of Kasner’s arrest and provide police contact information for any parent who believes a child may have had questionable or concerning interactions with Kasner.

According to Kirkland police, Kasner bought a new computer in June, but it wasn’t operating properly so he took it back to the Kirkland computer shop where he purchased it on Oct. 3 for repair. But the Kirkland business didn’t have the tools needed because the computer is a new model, and so it was sent to the company’s Issaquah store, the statement says.

The technician assigned to work on the computer cleaned up dozens of applications, then began checking to see if he had fixed the problem, according to the statement. The first icon he clicked on brought up photos of naked children, both boys and girls, and images of children engaged in sex, the statement says. The technician immediately contacted his supervisor, who then took the computer back to the Kirkland store and called police, it says.

Police seized the computer and asked the store’s general manager to tell Kasner that it would take a week to fix his iMac, the statement says. Detectives got a search warrant for both the computer and Kasner’s residence in Woodinville, which they served on Wednesday, the statement says. Police also found additional sexual images of children in Kasner’s home, it says.

According to police, Kasner said he has been looking at images of children all his life and has “always been fascinated” by the images, which he found online by entering “incest” into a search engine, the statement says.

Kasner stated that he knew it was illegal to view and possess child pornography, but he believed that it was overkill. He stated that the law is there mainly to protect the children that images were taken of, but what is done is done,” the statement says. “Kasner again stated the images are fascinating to him.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: child porn, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Northshore School District

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