Former Staples peer advisor arrested, facing possession of child pornography charges


Photo contributed by the Westport Police Department

Michael Newman, 61, was arrested Friday May 21, after a warrant was made for his arrest regarding child pornography.

Emma Smith ’22, Arts editor

Former Staples peer advisor Michael Newman turned himself into the Westport Police Station on the evening of May 21; he was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography in the third-degree, obscenity and promoting a minor in obscene performance. Newman was later released on a $250,000 bond and scheduled for a court hearing the morning of May 24.  

An investigation in December of 2020 found child pornography downloaded on his home IP address, alerting Westport police officer Lieutenant David Wolf, who later began conducted an investigation.  

“On Dec. 12, 2020, the Westport Police Department’s Detective Bureau received information that a town resident was possibly downloading child pornography onto his electronic devices… Images did, in fact, come back to a home in Westport,” the Westport Local Press wrote. 

Following the investigation beginning in December, Newman’s devices were examined.

“Images of suspected child pornography allegedly downloaded by Michael Newman were located,” Lieutenant David Wolf said.

Newman was previously an advisor for the Staples Peer Advisor Program, which he formed in 1995. The program was designed for students to have a safe space and someone to talk to about issues happening in their lives. 

“It is a very open and honest environment where students can talk in total confidence about any issues that they want,” Newman said in a 2011 interview with Inklings News. 

 The peer advisor program was being funded by United Way and The Board of Education. However, it transitioned into a club after the Board of Education unexpectedly cut the program’s budget, prompting Newman to leave Staples in 2011. The club is still active today.  

The news of Newman made some Staples students uncomfortable, knowing that he was once part of the Staples community. 

“After seeing that he [Michael Newman] was heavily involved with the Staples community for a long period of time, I felt very uneasy. “I would never expect someone from Staples to ever do something like he did.”