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Brighton high school teacher charged with possession of child pornography

Brighton High School New York Front.jpg
Daniel Penfield
Creative Commons

A teacher at Brighton High School has been charged with possession and receipt of child pornography.

Physics teacher and coach Louis Carusone, 44, of Webster was arrested on Thursday.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo, several devices were seized in a search of Carusone’s home last Friday, including a tablet, a laptop, desktop computers, SD cards, and phones.

More than 2,000 images and 20 videos containing child pornography were recovered from one desktop computer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Officials said Carusone also appears to have used a cellphone to surreptitiously photograph female students in his classroom.

“At this time, the FBI does not believe that any images of (Brighton High School) students were shared and that none of the pornography on his seized devices involved BHS students in any way,” Superintendent Kevin McGowan wrote in a letter published on the district’s website on Thursday. “However, this deplorable conduct still represents a dramatic invasion of student privacy and a violation of the trust put in all of us as caregivers at school.”

McGowan said in his letter that law enforcement notified the district last Friday after they’d conducted the home search. Carusone was immediately placed on leave and could face immediate dismissal and revocation of his teaching certificate.

Since 2001, Carusone has had a working relationship with the district, first as a teacher for one year, then as a junior varsity golf coach starting in 2002. He returned to teach in 2015 and was the assistant boys' basketball coach in 2017 and 2018. In 2020, he advised the League of Brighton club.

Carusone will not return to the district “in any capacity, at any time,” McGowan wrote.

As the investigation continues, McGowan said that families of students who may have been recorded will be contacted by the FBI by Friday.

McGowan said in his letter that before Carusone was hired, he went through a background check and screening, which included a search of the New York State Sex Offender Registry. That screening, McGowan wrote, came through with state Education Department approval.

Still, he wrote, “students and their families should expect us to maintain an environment that is safe from predatory behavior.”

“This should never, ever have happened and we are so very sorry and angry that it did,” McGowan wrote. “The behavior and betrayal of one person in this incident was a failure in our obligation in every way.”

The district will host a community discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the high school auditorium with representatives from Bivona Child Advocacy Center and law enforcement.

Anyone with specific information related to this case is urged to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (585) 279-0085.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Carusone appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pedersen and was released on conditions, which include electronic monitoring.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.