Nathan Forstell, 44, of San Jose was arrested in connection with having child pornography at his home. He taught in San Jose and Monterey County, among other places. Marianne Favro reports.
San Jose police on Thursday announced the arrest of a Monterey County physical education teacher who had substituted for years in San Jose for allegedly having at least 1,000 images of child pornography on his home computer.
Sgt. Det. Greg Lombardo said that the images found on Nathan Forstell's computer were both still photographs and video images of children, mostly between the ages of 4 and 9.
Lombardo's detectives - from the sexual assault and child exploitation unit - searched Forstell's house on La Palma Drive in East San Jose on Wednesday morning, and found the pornography there.
Lombardo said at this point, the images appear to be stock pornography, but investigators are now fanning out to his students to interview them to see if they had been part of his illegal collection. Forstell, 44, is not accused of manufacturing the porn.
Thursday afternoon, Forstell attempted to commit suicide by way of overdose, according to San Jose police. He survived the attempt and was transported to a local hospital to be monitored for the next 72 hours.
Still, Lombardo said that police are now considering whether to press the case in federal court, instead of state court, because the penalties are stiffer.
On Wednesday morning, police arrested Forstell at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Seaside, for possessing the illegal images.
KSBW reported that Forstell began working at the school in August. He lived with his brother in Seaside, the news station reported, but the police investigation is centered around his San Jose home.
Forstell was previously employed by the Alum Rock Union School District as a substitute teacher from 2009 to Feb. 10.
Stephen Fiss, Alum Rock's superintendent, told NBC Bay Area that Forstell substituted at 11 schools in the district including elementary and high schools. One of his longest stints was at Arbuckle Elementary School from August 2011 to January 2012, when he filled in for a third grade teacher. He also substituted at Ocala Middle School.
Fiss said that according to Forstell's resume, he had also worked at Crittenden Middle School in Mountain View and El Sausal Middle School in Salinas.
Detectives are currently trying to determine the identity of the children from the evidence they collected.
"At the moment, there is no confirmation that any of the children in the child pornography possessed by Mr. Forstell were in fact Alum Rock students," Fiss said.
Fiss made sure to send out a letter about the arrest on Thursday, as well as alert parents through automated phone calling. He is meeting with principals later on Thursday and invited any parent to call him at any time.
One of Forstell's relatives contacted by NBC Bay Area on Thursday refused to comment.
Martin Luther King Elementary School administrators in Seaside said they were shocked about the charges against Forstell. He passed a background check when he was hired last year, and no complaints were filed against him.
Fiss also said that Forstell had cleared the routine and mandated Department of Justice clearance check.
Anyone with information about this case are urged to call Detective Sean Pierce #3415 the San Jose Police Department's Sexual Assaults Unit (Child Exploits/Internet Crimes Against Children Detail) at (408) 537-1381. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867), or may visit: http://svcrimestoppers.org/, and may be eligible for a reward.