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August 22, 2019

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Police: Las Vegas teacher in porn case had photos of own child

Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 6:25 p.m.

An elementary school teacher has been arrested on child pornography counts after he digitalized photos that depicted his child naked and in poses deemed sexual by investigators, according to a Henderson Police arrest report.

James Verne Russell, a fourth-grade teacher at Sandy Miller Elementary School, was arrested Monday morning, according to police records. The magnet school is located in Las Vegas.

Russell, 49, was booked at the Henderson Detention Center on one felony count each of possession of child pornography and preparation, advertisement and distribution of pornography with a minor, jail records show. He was being held today on a $20,000 bond.

In September, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was tipped off by a photo and video hosting website that 57 of 69 photos uploaded by someone in August depicted a child in sexual poses, according to the arrest report.

The website, Flickr, provided the name of the person and his IP and email address, police said. It wasn’t clear what transpired next, but a Henderson detective received the information on March 1.

The images depicted the child with exposed genitals performing normal tasks, police said. None of the files showed sexual abuse, police said.

Looking at one of the images, Russell identified the victim as his child but couldn’t explain who may have taken the photos, police said.

Russell said the Flickr account was his and that he had recently digitalized photos, but said he’d used a different cloud, police said. He then invoked his right to remain silent, police said.

The child, who is now a young adult, was 9 years old at the time, police said. The photos were taken in Michigan when Russell and the child lived together, police said.

“Based on the content of the images, I determined that the depiction of the juvenile was in a manner that solely appeals to the prurient interest in sex and that they do not have any serious literacy or artistic value,” an investigator wrote in the arrest report.

Russell was hired as a teacher in August, the Clark County School District said. His status with the School District was changed to “assigned to home” on March 5, spokesman Mauricio Marin said.