Somerset Berkley high school janitor faces child pornography charges

Miguel Pereira (Somerset Police Department)

A custodian at Somerset Berkeley Regional High School appeared in court Thursday on child pornography charges.

Miguel Perriera, 35, was arrested at the school the previous night around 9:30.

“My client is devastated by these charges,” Pereira’s lawyer, Michael DiGioia, said in court. “He denies these charges.”

A message sent to parents and to NBC 10 News by Superintendent Jeffrey Schoonover said a background and fingerprint check was done when Pereira was hired just five weeks ago.

Authorities said Pereira, who was working the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift and has a 4-year-old daughter, did not have a criminal record and so the check did not raise any red flags.

Still, Pereira has been charged with one count of possessing child pornography and one count for distributing.

“I was outraged. I couldn’t believe this was happening in a school. My first thing was whether they did a CORI check and obviously they did,” Judy Dias, a parent, told NBC 10.

The investigation stemmed from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force locating child pornography from the suspect's home IP address.

A search warrant was then executed at the home. Police found his wife there and asked for access to the computer.

In an account that the wife was unaware of, police said they determined there was child porn on the computer.

“(It’s) kind of a disgusting thing to really hear about, especially in this kind of community and this school,” Somerset Berkley senior Nicholas Alexander said.

Police said the child pornography Pereira allegedly had did not involve any students at the school or local children.

“The investigation was just file sharing and possession. It wasn’t a case of enticement of a child under age,” Somerset Police Chief George McNeil said.

Pereira was ordered held on $5000 bail. He has been put on leave from his job at the school.

The court also asked he has no contact with other children or computers.

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