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Palm Beach County elementary school teacher says child pornography he viewed was 'art,' arrest report states

Edward Parker, 54, 'will not be returning' to Timber Trace Elementary School, principal says
Edward Parker appears in a Palm Beach County courtroom on Sept. 1, 2022.jpg
Posted at 10:10 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 17:15:05-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach County elementary school teacher admitted to looking at child pornography, but told sheriff's office investigators it was "art," according to a newly released arrest report.

Edward Parker, 54, a second grade teacher at Timber Trace Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens, was arrested Wednesday on 10 counts of possession of 10 or more files of sexual performance by a child.

Palm Beach County teacher Edward Parker, 54, arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 31, 2022.jpg
Palm Beach County teacher Edward Parker, 54, arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 31, 2022.

According to Parker's arrest report, the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children task force received a tip on July 7 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a Google user uploading 50 videos showing the "sexual abuse of children."

On Aug. 25, a search warrant to Google identified Parker as the suspect through his email address, the arrest report stated.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office's SWAT Team and Cyber Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at Parker's Jupiter Farms home on Wednesday.

According to the arrest report, Parker admitted to investigators that he "viewed the child pornography but denied downloading it."

"Parker stated the material he was viewing was 'not real' and was 'art,'" the arrest report stated.

A forensic search of Parker's Acer Chromebook laptop and Samsung Galaxy A10 phone uncovered child porn files, the report said. At least one of the images in Parker's possession showed a child younger than 5 engaged in a sexual act, according to the sheriff's office.

Parker's arrest report stated he's unmarried and has a son with his ex-wife. In addition, he has two adoptive sons in his care.

Parker was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail about 9 a.m. Wednesday. In court Thursday, a judge set Parker's bond at $150,000 and ordered him to have no contact with children under 18, as well as no access to computers, internet, smartphones, or digital devices.

WATCH: Second-grade teacher arrested on child porn charges

2nd-grade Palm Beach County teacher arrested on child porn charges

In a written statement to parents on Wednesday, Principal Kathy Pasquariello said Parker has worked at Timber Trace Elementary School since 2002, but "will not be returning to our campus."

Pasquariello added there's "no indication that this alleged criminal activity directly involved the school or students."

The sheriff's office is urging anyone that may have had inappropriate contact with Parker to contact Detective Malory Wildove at 561-688-4079 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS.