Police: Middle school intern in possession of child pornography

by: Eric Philips Updated:

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. - A college student working as an intern at a Mooresville school is in jail accused of having child pornography.

Michael Bernatchez was arrested after investigators were tipped off to the material on his personal laptop.

Bernatchez was an intern at East Mooresville Intermediate School and was scheduled to begin student teaching in the fall.

Bernatchez, 26, is a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

He was doing an internship when police arrested him last week.

Detectives said they found numerous videos and photographs of children involved in sexual activity on his computer.

Investigators said they don't believe any of the images involved students at the fourth- through sixth-grade school.

He had minimal contact, according to school officials. He was in only one classroom and it was one day a week for about 11 days the entire semester.

Officials said Bernatchez went through a strict background check because of his interaction with children.

"We'd never place someone in direct contact without children if they did not pass those backgrounds," a school official said.

After the arrest, the principal called every parent who had a student in the class where Bernatchez interned.
School officials said no students have indicated he acted inappropriately toward them.

Bernatchez is charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He's out of jail on $50,000 bond.

Read previous coverage here.

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