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Fayette County Substitute Teacher and His Dad Charged With Child Pornography

Pittsburgh Sex Crime Attorney David Shrager is representing the two clients charged with child pornography charges in Uniontown, PA.

Read below for local media coverage of this case.

Father, son offered plea deals in child pornography case in Fayette County

By Liz Zemba
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, 11:09 p.m.

pittsburgh child pornography attorney

On the right: Pittsburgh Attorney David J. Shrager

A father and son who are former teachers in Fayette County have been offered intermediate punishment with house arrest after allegations they possessed child pornography.

Robert David Caldwell II, 36, and his father, Robert David Caldwell, 67, both of South Union, waived their right to preliminary hearings on Wednesday. Each is charged with two counts of child pornography.

The younger Caldwell used his cellphone to show several male students a pornographic photo while working as a substitute teacher at Laurel Highlands Middle School in the spring of 2014, police said. He is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communication facility, sexual abuse of children/displaying obscene materials and corruption of minors.

Other charges filed against the elder Caldwell are two counts of sexual abuse of children/photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer or filming sexual acts.

Laurel Highlands stopped hiring the younger man when the allegations surfaced, Superintendent Jesse Wallace said.

Caldwell’s father is a former social studies teacher in the Uniontown Area School District. He retired in 2008, according to the district.

The Caldwells were to appear in Central Court in Uniontown before North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, but they waived their right to hearings in exchange for the tentative plea bargains.

Meghann Mikluscak, assistant district attorney, said the elder Caldwell has a tentative offer of six to 23 months of intermediate punishment, while the younger Caldwell’s offer is for 11 ½ to 23 months. Both offers will include periods of house arrest that are yet to be determined.

The plea bargains are contingent on the men being allowed to serve their sentences under supervision in Florida, Mikluscak said.

The elder Caldwell’s tentative offer calls for one of the child pornography charges to be dropped, while the son’s will require he have no access to the Internet, Mikluscak said. The elder Caldwell’s offer has no restrictions on Internet access because he is not accused of using it to commit the alleged crimes.

David J. Shrager, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents both men, said the offers are tentative, pending his review of the evidence.

“They are greatly stressed over the accusations,” Shrager said. “They were respected members of the community. This is very difficult for them.”

Police initiated an investigation when one of the students’ parents contacted the middle school principal about numerous text messages the younger Caldwell had sent to their son, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The boy told his parents the teacher used obscene language in front of students and in text messages. He and other male students accused him of using his cellphone to show them a pornographic photo during school hours, police said.

In addition, the boys told police the teacher used obscene language while using Skype to play an online video game from his home, according to the affidavit.

When police executed a search warrant for the Caldwells’ shared residence in March 2014 to look for the younger man’s cellphone, they discovered a photo of a partially nude teenage boy in the elder Caldwell’s bedroom closet. Police then obtained a second search warrant to look for child pornography, police said in the affidavit.

When they executed the second warrant, police found a number of videos in the men’s bedroom closets depicting underage boys swimming, showering and wrestling while naked, police said.

Both men are free on bond $50,000 unsecured bond each.


Fayette substitute teacher, dad charged with possessing child porn

July 15, 2015 — Pittsburgh Tribune Review

by Liz Zemba

A former substitute teacher at a Fayette County middle school showed a pornographic photo to students, according to state police who accused the man and his retired schoolteacher father with possessing child pornography.

Robert David Caldwell II, 36, and his father, Robert David Caldwell, 67, both of South Union, are each charged with two counts of child pornography.

The younger Caldwell, who police said used his cellphone to show several male students a pornographic photo while working as a substitute teacher at Laurel Highlands Middle School in the spring of 2014, is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communication facility, sexual abuse of children/displaying obscene materials and corruption of minors.

Other charges filed against the elder Caldwell are two counts of sexual abuse of children/photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer or filming sexual acts.

Laurel Highlands stopped using the younger man when the allegations surfaced, Superintendent Jesse Wallace said.

Caldwell’s father is a former social studies teacher in the Uniontown Area School District. He retired in 2008, according to the district.

Phone calls to the Caldwells’ residence seeking comment went unanswered. David Joel Shrager, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents the younger man, said his client contends the images are not child pornography.

“I will examine the evidence, which I have not yet been provided, but it’s my understanding the images are not illegal pornography,” Shrager said. “We’re pleading not guilty.”

Police initiated an investigation when one of the students’ parents contacted the middle school’s principal regarding numerous text messages the younger Caldwell had sent to their son, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The boy told his parents the teacher used obscene language in front of students and in text messages. He and other male students accused him of using his cellphone to show them a pornographic photo during school hours, police said.

In addition, the boys told police the teacher used obscene language while using Skype to play an online video game from his home, according to the affidavit.

When police executed a search warrant for the Caldwells’ shared residence in March 2014 to look for the younger man’s cellphone, they discovered a photo of a partially nude teenage boy in the elder Caldwell’s bedroom closet. Police then obtained a second search warrant to look for child pornography, police said in the affidavit.

When they executed the second warrant, police found a number of videos in the men’s bedroom closets depicting underage boys swimming, showering and wrestling while naked, police said.

“Numerous DVD and VHS tapes were discovered in both Caldwells’ bedrooms which depicted images and videos of nude, prepubescent males,” said Trooper Jared C. Johnson in one of the affidavits. “A computer forensic examiner located a large amount of naked, prepubescent images of young males on the computers that were taken out of the Caldwell residence.”

Wallace said the district has not been advised of any other allegations involving the younger Caldwell.

“At this juncture, we have not been made aware of any other involvement,” Wallace said.

Dr. Charles Machesky, superintendent for Uniontown schools, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Charges were filed with District Judge Michael Metros of Uniontown. Both men are free on bond pending preliminary hearings.

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Father, son, both former teachers, charged with possessing child porn

Robert Caldwell, Robert Caldwell II worked as teachers in Fayette County

July 17, 2015 – Pittsburgh WTAE News
By Ashlie Hardway

SOUTH UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. —A father and son who worked as schoolteachers in Fayette County have been charged with possessing child pornography.

Robert Caldwell, 68, and Robert Caldwell II, 36, both of South Union Township, were charged by state police.

The investigation started in March 2014 after a male student at Laurel Highlands Middle School told the principal that Caldwell II showed him a pornographic photo on his personal cellphone. The boy also said Caldwell II made inappropriate comments to him. At the time, Caldwell II was a substitute teacher with the district.

The school principal went to police, who interviewed several other boys. Police said those boys also reported receiving inappropriate messages from Caldwell II, sometimes over gaming systems after school.

“After school hours, he was friend-requesting those individuals on video games and saying obscenities and things like that through that video game mechanism,” said Trooper Stefani Lucas.

Lucas said that once police had enough evidence, they received a search warrant to retrieve the older Caldwell’s cellphone from his home, which he shares with his father. While police were searching the house for the phone, they reportedly saw child pornography in plain view in the older Caldwell’s bedroom.

“When we went to that house to serve that warrant for the cellphone, our officers observed, in plain view, a picture of what they believed to be a juvenile male in an inappropriate pornographic picture,” said Lucas.

The older Caldwell is a retired Uniontown Area High School teacher.

“That was surprising. He seemed normal, totally normal,” said former student Elliot Ray, whose son had Caldwell II as a substitute teacher. “It’s getting bad. Everything is going to hell.”

Lucas said that after the search of the home, both men spent a considerable amount of time in Florida on vacation before returning to the Fayette County area to face charges. Both men remain free on bond pending a preliminary hearing.