Michael Alexander Hildebran Elementary teacher sex child porn - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Investigators: Elementary school t-shirt seen in child porn, teacher charged

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HILDEBRAN, NC (WBTV) -

A third grade teacher from Burke County is facing charges after he is accused of being part of an international child porn ring.

According to the Burke County Sheriff's Office, investigators were contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation after an elementary teacher was allegedly found to be part of a child pornography investigation.

Investigators say 54-year-old Michael Andrew Alexander, a 3rd grade teacher at Hildebran Elementary School, was connected to an international child pornography investigation coordinated by Europol. 

Authorities in Barcelona, Spain arrested a suspect, Javier Alvarez Varela, who was involved in a takedown known as Operation "Filipo."  After the arrest in Spain, authorities contacted the United States Embassy and provided them with information obtained subsequent to the arrest.

Authorities believe some of the child pornography found in Spain came from Alexander.

One child in a video, according to investigators, was wearing a Hildebran Elementary School T-shirt, the same school where Alexander was a teacher.

"It's heartbreaking," said school superintendent Larry Putnam.

Putnam said Alexander passed all background checks when he was hired 12 years ago.

"There was nothing to indicate this," he said.

Alexander has been a teacher in the Burke County School system for approximately 12 years, first at Glen Alpine Elementary and currently employed at the Hildebran Elementary School as a drama teacher. 

During a hearing on Thursday morning, Alexander was given a court-appointed attorney and will have a probable cause hearing on July 3rd.

WBTV has learned that there are at least three alleged female victims in this case, but the sheriff believes there could be more possible victims and is asking that they come forward.

WBTV obtained copies of the arrest warrants for Alexander which give details about some of the charges he is facing.

The details are gruesome and include specifics about videos Alexander is accused of making copies of - including two videos of a set of young girls being forced to engage in sexual activity with one another. Each of the four girls is believed to be under the age of 10.

There are also multiple videos of young girls being forced into oral sex with an adult male.

According to the warrants, Alexander is accused of duplicating a video that shows a young girl between the ages of 2 to 4 years of age being raped by an adult male.

Alexander is accused of taking indecent liberties with at least three girls, under the age of 16, who are only identified in the warrants by their initials.

He is also accused of engaging in a sex offense with a fourth girl, under the age of 13, the warrants show.

These offenses have occurred from 2001 through 2012, the Sheriff's Office told WBTV.

The Burke County magistrate says Michael Alexander was arrested late Wednesday and charged with one count of first degree sexual offense of a child, five felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three felony counts of taking indecent liberties of a child under 13 years old. 

Additional charges are possible, according to the sheriff, including federal charges.

Investigators were calling parents of children at Hildebran to come in and view some of the video supplied by the FBI. Officials were wanting the parents to help name the children seen in the videos and to identify any additional victims.

"We do think there are more victims in these cases," said Sheriff Steve Whisenant.

One mother, who did not want to be identified, told reporters she was afraid her daughter might be a victim of Alexander as well.

"She spent a lot of time with him in elementary school," she said. "He was Mr. A and everybody loved him." 

Sheriff Whisenant said it was "disturbing to him that someone who gained the trust of children could do anything like this."  Investigators said they will go back through 12 years of records hoping to track down potential victims.

Alexander is currently in the Burke County jail on a $1 Million bond. His first court date is set for Thursday morning.

The FBI, SBI and Burke County detectives are continuing to conduct numerous interviews. Anyone with additional information should contact the Burke County Sheriff's Office at 828-438-5500

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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