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Former teacher convicted on child porn charges

May 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM   |   Comments

MIAMI, May 16 (UPI) -- A former Miami elementary school teacher has been found guilty of possessing child pornography. He now faces up to 40 years in prison.

A Miami-Dade jury on Wednesday convicted Robert DeNapoli of eight counts of knowingly possessing child porn, The Miami Herald reported.

Prosecutors said DeNapoli, 52, used a private room in a computer lab at the University of Miami to download and view child pornography.

Alejandro Laza, a lab monitor at the university who testified in court Wednesday, said that on multiple occasions, he caught DeNapoli searching the Internet for "topless preteens" and "underage topless," and took screen captures of DeNapoli's computer. Laza informed his boss at the university, who then alerted police.

DeNapoli, who earned a master's degree in elementary education from the school in 2004 and began teaching shortly thereafter, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, saying he was a fan of erotic art.

"Evidence will show that Mr. DeNapoli did not knowingly possess these images," defense attorney Mark Seiden told jurors. "The evidence will show that Mr. DeNapoli viewed the images, viewed the images as one might view a basketball game on TV or a picture in a museum."

The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors and found DeNapoli guilty. He now faces up to 40 years in prison and will be sentenced on a later date.

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