Episcopal High School teacher arrested

November 3, 2009 10:37:03 AM PST
Eyewitness News has learned that an Episcopal High School teacher has been arrested for possessing child pornography.Kent Thomas Johnson, 53, was arrested Monday morning and charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. Johnson is the head of the drama and dance department at Episcopal High and also has appeared at the Alley Theatre & Main Street Theater.

"They pulled us out of our seventh period (class), and we gathered in the chapel," student David McLean said.

Johnson has worked at the school for 17 years and has participated in many Main Street Theater productions.

"This was a huge surprise," Ned Smith, the high school's headmaster, said. "We had no reason to suspect Mr. Johnson of anything whatsoever."

The Harris County Sheriff's Office says the warrant was originally for solicitation of a child over the Internet, but child pornography was found later on his computer. Johnson is accused of sending inappropriate videos to someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy, who was actually an undercover sheriff's deputy. That deputy, who worked for Adams County in Colorado, contacted the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"It was quite a shock," McLean said. "I never would have thought anything like that about Mr. Johnson."

The head of Episcopal High, C. Edward Smith, sent a letter to parents Monday that read in part, "We are shocked and saddened by this disturbing news. The School has no information at this time that any of our students or former students have been victimized by Mr. Johnson. We are meeting with students this afternoon to let them know what has occurred and to offer counseling and support as needed."

Johnson is being held in the Harris County Jail on $100,000 bond.

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