Local catholic school teacher charged following child porn investigation

A teacher has been arrested and jailed, accused of possessing and sharing child pornography.

Neil Alexander Kirchoefer, 30, of Sleepy Eye faces two felony counts of using minors in pornographic work and eight felony counts of possession of pornographic work involving minors.

According to the criminal complaint, staff members at St. Mary’s High School in Sleepy Eye reported to Sleepy Eye police on November 27, 2018 that Kirchoefer had been potentially seen viewing “preliminaries to child porn” on the school’s network.   She immediately reported the incident, according to the complaint.

During a police interview, Kirchoefer admitted that he had a history of sharing pornography online, according to the complaint.  He told police that he doesn’t know the contents of files until he opens them, and any underage photos he’s viewed were unintentional and would have been deleted right away.

Court documents show that Washington County assisted with a forensic investigation of four devices that Kirchoefer had either owned or accessed:  An Apple MacBook Pro, A Hewlett Packard Pro Book, an Apple iPad, and an Apple iPhone.  A report indicated that the forensic detective found 1,452 images and 18 movie files that contained child pornography on Kirchoefer’s hard drives, according to the complaint.  The report outlined in the complaint also showed that Kirchhoefer had been sharing links of child pornography via Skype.

In a press release, Sleepy Eye Police said: “there is no information that any juveniles from Brown county were victimized by Neil Kirchoefer.  This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Sleepy Eye Police Department.”

Peter Roufs, the Junior/High School Principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School released a statement following Kirchoefer’s arrest: “Neil Kirchoefer was placed on unpaid leave immediately after the allegations surfaced in late November and was not allowed access to the school.  He resigned shortly thereafter and is no longer employed by the school.”

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