UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: Kenny Klein, spokesman for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, provided the following statement:
“The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District has been notified by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department that they are investigating a report of alleged misconduct involving a staff member.
“The employee was arrested in SLO County for alleged penal code violations. The district has placed the employee on leave.
“The alleged incident, which authorities believe happened in another county, was reported to district officials last night. We are cooperating with law enforcement and will continue to do so during the investigation.”
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Klein said he could not verify at which school Smith works, but Smith is listed as an English teacher on the Santa Maria High School website.
Original story: A teacher at Santa Maria High School was arrested at his home in Santa Margarita on charges of possessing child pornography Thursday — the fourth local child porn-related arrest in the last month.
Michael David Smith, 53, was arrested after members of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team served a search warrant at his residence in the 22000 block of I Street.
In a news release Friday, the Sheriff’s Office said detectives received information on Jan. 14 that child pornography was being downloaded and distributed from the home.
Detectives seized computers, external hard drives, memory cards and DVDs, and allegedly discovered images of pre-pubescent children committing sex acts.
Investigators did not find evidence that the pornography was produced at the home, according to the news release.
A forensic analysis of the seized items was ongoing Friday.
Smith was arrested on suspicion of one count of possessing child pornography and a second count of distributing child pornography. He was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail but was no longer listed in custody Friday afternoon, according to jail logs.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Smith is a teacher at Santa Maria High School and an assistant varsity coach of the school’s boys’ basketball team.
Local officials are currently working with the Santa Maria Police Department and the superintendent of schools, but there is no indication any crimes were committed on school property.
The superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, Mark Richardson, could not immediately be reached for comment on Smith’s employment Friday.