[*Update] Freshman Football Coach Arrested In Pornography Investigation
Westport Police arrested assistant freshmen football coach, Michael Pickering, 40, today following allegations that Pickering shared a password to an undisclosed pornographic website with students, reported Westport Now.
According to Westport Now’s report, Pickering turned himself in to Westport Police at approximately 1:30 p.m. today, and was charged with three counts of risk of injury to a minor. His bail was posted at $50,000.
“Since receiving the complaint, members of the freshman football team have been interviewed with their parents by detectives and confirmed that they were given the password by the assistant coach to access the site,” a police statement said.
The Staples football website indicates that Pickering is also a freshmen lacrosse coach and a school maintenance employee.
“I’m very upset by what happened, Coach Pick is a great guy and great coach,” said a freshman football player who was granted anonymity. “The press and media attention around seems to be over exaggerated.”
The freshmen football team will play its final game today in Greenwich at 4 p.m.
On Nov. 16 Westport Superintendent Elliot Landon announced in a letter to parents that a freshman football coach allegedly gave information about a pornographic website to some freshmen football players.
“We have removed the coach from any contact with students or players,” Landon wrote in the letter, which was sent by email at 10:14 a.m. Landon said the coach had given players access codes to the site.
The football team’s website lists several individuals as coaches for the freshmen team. At this time, it is not clear which coach was involved.
According to Staples principal John Dodig, a student who was not a part of the football team overheard this information and proceeded to report it to a member of the Staples High School staff, who then told the administration.
Dodig said he was shocked when he first heard the news. He recalled thinking, “It can’t be true. Who would make a stupid decision like that?” He said he now feels everyone handled the situation in the correct way.
“I’m very proud of everyone, starting with the student who recognized it was serious. It would have been very easy to walk away,” said Dodig.
At this point, Dodig said, the situation is in the hands of the Westport Police Department and Landon.
“The overarching concern of every adult in the school is the safety of the kids,” said Dodig.
*Additional reporting by Emily Goldberg ’12