Thursday, July 30, 2009

Teacher Robert Barth Arrested for Child Porn

An Orange County man was an Army veteran, foster parent, second grade teacher and accused child porn junkie. Robert Barth was quietly arrested on Monday, but the allegations against him came to light Thursday in a federal hearing where his lawyer was trying to get him out of jail.

Barth posted bond around 2:00pm Thursday. Neighbors and parents are stunned by his arrest and subsequent release.

Barth, 57, has taught fourth and second graders at Cheney Elementary School since 2004. The community around that school is in shock and frustrated; they had no idea why he suddenly left the school.

Federal investigators arrested Barth early this week on child pornography charges. Court documents reveal the 27-year Army vet started downloading child porn in 2005.

No one answered at his home Thursday and, later, a car pulled in and the garage closed.

Eyewitness News found a handprint of a small child outside the home and the Department of Children and Families says Barth and his wife have had 19 foster children since 2002, but DCF has had no allegations of abuse.

The school district pulled Barth out of the classroom and put him on paid leave in December when it learned he was under investigation by the FBI.

"It's kind of scary," parent Angel Gonzalez told Eyewitness News.

Gonzalez has two children and lives across the street in from Barth in his east Orange County neighborhood. He describes Barth as quiet, but friendly.

News of his arrest has people in the area wondering how a family man and teacher could get involved in such a disturbing crime involving children.

"I don't like it, kind of dangerous, especially working at school," Gonzalez said.

Barth is out on bond and will be on home confinement. Court documents show he has surrendered his passport.

The school district is working with law enforcement to determine if he'll be fired

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