Riverdale Middle School teacher arrested on 51 child pornography counts _lowres

Edward Crowell, a teacher at Riverdale Middle School, is accused of 51 counts of possession of child pornography. (JPSO)

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a sixth-grade teacher at Riverdale Middle School on Tuesday on 51 counts of possession of child pornography.

Deputies said their investigation of Edward F. Crowell, 38, of Metairie, began after his wife discovered a video with a thumbnail that appeared to show “what she thought was an underage female.”

The woman went to the Sheriff’s Office. Detective Nicholas Vega was able to confirm that the video was of a girl younger than 13 performing oral sex on a man, according to the booking report, at which point he obtained a search warrant for Crowell’s home.

“Multiple devices” were seized from the house. Vega said further review of storage cards seized from Crowell’s house turned up 50 videos depicting children aged 4 to 12 engaged in sexual acts.

Detectives picked up Crowell at the school Tuesday and took him in for questioning.

Crowell confessed in a recorded interview that he began “downloading and storing child pornography” for “purely academic” purposes while serving as an attorney handling juvenile cases in Iowa, “even though he knew it was illegal to do so,” according to the booking report.

Crowell teaches math and science at Riverdale, according to a school website. Asked about Crowell’s status as a teacher, Jefferson Parish Public School system spokeswoman Beth Branley said, “We’re in the middle of following board policy.”

That policy says the district’s superintendent “shall have the authority to temporarily suspend any employee with or without pay when the circumstances necessitate immediate action.”

Crowell has been a teacher in Jefferson Parish since August 2014, when he joined through the teachNOLA program, Branley said.

Crowell remained in jail Wednesday.

His attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.