CINCINNATI – A former employee of a Cincinnati preschool was indicted Wednesday after authorities said he took sexually explicit photos of a child he babysat regularly.
A federal grand jury charged Caleb Zachary Storey, 30, with one count each of production of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force began investigating Storey after an illegal image traceable to an address where he babysat was recovered during a child pornography investigation in Georgia. The image was of a naked 3-and-a-half-year-old boy and a man’s hand. Storey's indictment accuses him of attempting to coerce a minor into sexually explicit conduct on or about March 26, 2012.
Agents obtained a search warrant for Storey’s apartment and said they found images of child erotica and child pornography on his computer. The FBI arrested Storey on Jan. 8. He has been in custody since his arrest.
Storey worked for Cincinnati’s The Goddard School, but has not been an employee there since September 2011. School officials said authorities have assured them the crimes Storey is accused of did not take place at the school.
“As an organization dedicated entirely to serving and nurturing children, we were shocked by the allegations,” The Goddard School owner Kate Joseph said. “Our first priority, every day, is to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in our care.”
Joseph said Storey was one of two teachers in a 3-year-old classroom and was employed from August 2009 to September 2011.
She said Storey passed a criminal background check conducted by the state and the federal government in 2009.
“We never received any complaints about this former employee from anyone and never had any reason to suspect him of inappropriate activity,” Joseph said. “Since learning of these charges, we have been fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”
Joseph said school officials have discussed security policies and procedures with authorities, and they have “confirmed there is nothing we should have done differently from a security standpoint.”
WCPO found that Storey was registered on Care.com as a part-time day care provider for the Cincinnati area and worked for several families in the Anderson Township community.
In the Care.com profile, Storey said he was “trained in recognizing child abuse and preventing the spread of communicable diseases."
“My passion for helping children learn in a fun way, added to my patience and caring makes me an excellent person to work with young people (as my references often tell me),” Storey wrote. “I really love seeing children learn new things and helping them explore the world around them.”
Kasee Ingram, an Anderson Township nanny, said she knows Storey through her job. She said he has always been very friendly and “loved kids.”
“He was nice. He wasn’t just someone who worked on my street; he was my friend,” Ingram said. “He opened up his life (and) we were nannying kids together… He wanted kids to have happy lives. To hear that he did that, I felt betrayed.”
Ingram said she didn't believe the news at first and was shocked. She said he was the kind of man who would have been a great father.
"He just loved kids," she said. "He played with them. He could get on their level and interact with them. He didn't talk down to them... It was like he lived a double life."
Officials in the Forest Hills Local School District said Storey volunteered at Ayer Elementary three times. They said Storey went through several background checks and was fingerprinted.
District officials said Storey’s responsibility as a volunteer included making copies, stapling documents and reading to third graders under the direct supervision of a teacher.
Ayer Elementary Principal Chris Flanagan sent a letter to parents Thursday informing them Storey provided babysitting services for a small number of students at the school.
"First thing this morning I talked with the teachers who work directly with the students who were in the care of this sitter," Flanagan wrote. "Throughout the school day, I spoke with the other Ayer teachers to make them aware of the situation."
Story said the school district has been in contact with a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Fred Alverson said the FBI has identified less than 10 other victims in the case.
The child pornography charge against Storey is punishable by at least 15 and up to 30 years in prison. The possession of child pornography charge against him is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
WCPO's Tom McKee and Jesse Folk contributed to this report.