Paradise Valley teacher arrested for child pornography

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Phoenix police have arrested Thomas Warner, a teacher int he Paradise Valley School District, for sexual exploitation of a minor. By Mike Gertzman Phoenix police have arrested Thomas Warner, a teacher int he Paradise Valley School District, for sexual exploitation of a minor. By Mike Gertzman
Thomas H. Warner By Jennifer Thomas Thomas H. Warner By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a Paradise Valley teacher for sexual exploitation of a minor after reportedly finding thousands of child pornography images on his computer.

According to investigators, Thomas H. Warner took his laptop in for service over the weekend. That's when someone saw pornographic images on the computer and called officials.

Police detectives served a search warrant at Warner's home Monday morning and found numerous items of child pornography, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump.

"What they described to me as thousands of images depicting young boys that were on a variety of different devices within this individual's home," Crump said. "They included laptop computers, thumb drives, external hard drives that have been seized and so there have been literally thousands of images now in our possession they will be going through."

Warner, 54, has been a fourth-grade teacher at North Ranch Elementary School for 11 years.

"District officials are extremely concerned about the situation and are working with the Phoenix Police Department and the district's parent community," said Paradise Valley School District spokeswoman Marty Macurak. "Mr. Warner has a valid LEVEL 1 clearance card from the Department of Public Safety renewed in July 2010."

One parent who worked as Warner's "room mom," helping organize fun activities for the students, said she was shocked to learn the news.

"Very wonderful teacher, everyone hoped to get him for their son or daughter," said Marcy Sparrow, who has a daughter in Warner's class. "There was no indication so complete shock, is all that us parents can say."

In addition to teaching, Warner also offered mentoring after school hours, according to officials.

Police say they are investigating whether Warner may have had any physical involvement with his students and are asking people with any information to come forward.

"I hope this demon inside of him never came into the doors of North Ranch," Sparrow said. "I hope it was a double life. I hope whatever possessed him to be like this did not affect the students here or anywhere."

Macurak said Warner has been placed on leave.

Warner was booked into the Maricopa County Jail and charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Police said Warner has admitted to having the images.