No Penn Yan children were involved in the case, says school superintendent
A former Penn Yan Central School substitute teacher has been convicted for possessing hundreds of videos and images of child pornography as the result of an international investigation by the FBI.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced Dec. 3 that Jeffrey Maciejewski, 26, of Penn Yan, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to possession of child pornography involving pre-pubescent minors. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a lifetime period of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Maciejewski's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 21 before Judge Geraci.
In a message to district parents, Penn Yan Superintendent of Schools, Howard Dennis, informed them of the case in response to recent media reports, and sought to reassure them about the safety of their children. "Last February the District was made aware of a law enforcement investigation regarding a substitute teacher. As soon as we became aware, the District worked directly with law enforcement to support their investigation, and immediately terminated the use of the substitute from the District," said Dennis.
"As this was an ongoing law enforcement investigation, the District was not allowed to comment, and we were unaware that charges would be filed," said Dennis. "If we had known, we would have shared the appropriate information with you accordingly. There was no indication that any inappropriate actions occurred on school grounds or involved Penn Yan students." He concluded, "Please be assured that your child’s safety is our top priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please reach out to the District Office."
According to the case prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Rossi, the Los Angeles office of the FBI executed a federal search warrant in May 2018 at a residence in Solvang, Calif. Special agents seized a number of electronic items containing child pornography. A resident at that address admitted to using social networking sites such as Kik and Live.me to trade child pornography with others via the Internet. Based on that information, investigators identified several individuals who were actively involved in the child pornography trade, including Maciejewski.
The information was sent to the Corning Office of the FBI, who, with the assistance of the Penn Yan Police Department, identified Maciejewski as a substitute teacher for the Penn Yan Central School District. Special agents acted quickly to obtain search warrants and locate Maciejewski, who was ultimately interviewed at the school district’s offices. During the interview, Maciejewski confessed that he in fact traded child pornography using social networking sites, including a cloud storage service, “Mega,” which is located in New Zealand.
With the help of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, investigators obtained the contents of Maciejewski’s Mega account, which contained hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. Maciejewski's electronic devices were also forensically examined. In total, Maciejewski possessed more than 600 images and videos of child pornography, some of which depicted the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Corning Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Penn Yan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas Dunham; and the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.