Suffield Middle School staffer facing child porn charges - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Suffield Middle School staffer facing child porn charges

Posted: Updated:
Gardner Whitney Gardner Whitney
SUFFIELD, CT (WFSB) -

A 61-year-old staff member at Suffield Middle School is facing multiple child pornography charges.

Police said Gardner Whitney, who also is a former Melha Shriner Potentate in Springfield, MA, is accused of indecent assault, possession of child porn and secretly recording a nude person.

He was recently arrested by police in Springfield and they said there is more than one victim.

Suffield Superintendent Karen Baldwin released a statement on Friday and said that Whitney served as an academic support tutor since 2009. She said she got word of Gardner's arrest on Jan. 23, one day after he was placed into custody.

"In accordance with its standard procedures, the district immediately began to work collaboratively with the police to investigate this allegation," she said in the statement. "The district will review the police reports and any further proceedings in this action to determine what, if any, further action should be taken by the Suffield Public Schools. As this is an ongoing investigation at this point, it would not be appropriate to comment further. However, please be assured that, as always, the safety and welfare of all of our students is our first priority."

Baldwin said Whitney is not presently working at Suffield Public Schools and none of the charges are related to the school.

Al Zippin, a spokesman for Melha Shriners, released a statement on Friday afternoon weighing-in on the situation and said, "We are saddened and deeply disappointed by the allegations facing former Melha Shriner Potentate, Gardner Whitney. Our thoughts and prayers are with the alleged victims during this difficult time. We expect our members to be professional, moral and ethical in all of their interactions with children, colleagues and community members. We will not tolerate any conduct that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a Melha Shriner. We will take corrective action and all disciplinary measures under organization by-laws whenever there is evidence of any misconduct. We encourage members of the Melha Shriners and the community to support each other through this difficult time, and look to a more positive tomorrow."

On Friday afternoon, parents reacted to the arrest.

"It's so different from when I was growing up," said Justina Cashman, whose children had Whitney as a substitute. "Between Newtown and all this stuff, it's really overwhelming like you don't want to send your kids to school. But, you have to and I don't know what to say. I'm just mortified by it."

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman found dead after 2 days in bathroom stall

    Woman found dead after 2 days in bathroom stall

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-09-21 11:49:00 GMT
    Patricia Austin. (CNN)Patricia Austin. (CNN)

    The family of a Chicago woman, who was found dead inside a health club bathroom stall, is demanding to know how their loved one was overlooked for two days.

    More >

    The family of a Chicago woman, who was found dead inside a health club bathroom stall, is demanding to know how their loved one was overlooked for two days.

    More >
  • ECSU student dies of natural causes

    ECSU student dies of natural causes

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 3:47 PM EDT2017-09-20 19:47:32 GMT

    Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dead in his dormitory room early on Wednesday morning. 

    More >

    Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dead in his dormitory room early on Wednesday morning. 

    More >
  • Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 7:30 PM EDT2017-09-20 23:30:11 GMT
    (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

    NEW YORK (AP) — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended. The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and New York manager Joe Girardi said he had been told by team security that she was OK. The game was delayed for about 4 minutes while she was attended to and then carried from the seat...

    More >

    NEW YORK (AP) — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended. The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and New York manager Joe Girardi said he had been told by team security that she was OK. The game was delayed for about 4 minutes while she was attended to and then carried from the seat...

    More >