13 arrested in child porn bust

December 18, 2008 3:23:40 PM PST
13 people accused of having or distributing child pornography have been arrested in Gloucester County.Perhaps more shocking: Police announced Thursday that half of the suspects taken in are juveniles.

Among those arrested was music and orchestra instructor James Atkinson the Third of Pitman, New Jersey, who teaches at West Deptford High School. He was charged with possession of child pornography.

"The school officials have been notified and have taken administrative action," said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton.

Atkinson is married with three children. The school district issued a statement saying he's been suspended. He has been released on his own recognizance.

Students who spoke to Action News were stunned by the story.

"I had him sophomore year for guitar. He's actually a good teacher. I'm surprised... That's all I can say," said one student.

Atkinson's arrest and that of six other adults and six juveniles stems from an ongoing investigation and crackdown by the "Internet Crimes Against Children" task force.

The New Jersey State Police, Gloucester County Prosecutors and Monroe Township Police worked together on the cases as described as 13 separate investigations.

The material, officials say, was graphic and involved children ages 4 to 14.

"I've said it many times and I'll say it today. Child pornography is not a victimless crime. Child pornography ends up on the internet because there are individuals who are sexually assaulting and sexually exploiting children," said New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

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