BROCKPORT, N.Y. — Roland Yockel has admitted to taking underwear from children he supervised while working as a camp coordinator last summer, according to court documents released Wednesday.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Tuesday that Yockel, 30, a kindergarten teacher in the Brockport Central School District, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with receipt and distribution of child pornography.
The charges Yockel faces carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His activity came to the attention of local authorities when he was identified by police in New Zealand after his computer's IP address was traced to a child pornography website. New Zealand authorities then alerted police in Rochester.
Court documents say Yockel admitted to trading child pornography online and taking underwear from children's backpacks when he worked as a camp coordinator. He denies inappropriately touching any students in his classroom or children he supervised at camp but did admit to actively watching the children at camp in their bathing suits.
The Hamlin Town Supervisors confirms Yockel worked as a counselor in the summer camp program there from 2015 through 2017. The town is working to contact parents of children who were directly involved in the program.
Further, Yockel admitted to exchanging sexually explicit video of himself with a girl who identified herself as being 15 years old said he "played games" with a girl between the ages of five and seven while his mother babysat her.
On November 21, 2017, a search warrant was executed at the defendant’s North Avenue residence. Agents recovered DVDs containing numerous videos and images of child pornography. Yockel resides in the basement of the North Avenue residence with his parents and siblings. His parents provide babysitting services at the residence.
U.S. Attorney Kennedy emphasized that given the defendant’s access to children, HSI Special Agents working the case are seeking the public's help in order to determine whether there are additional minor victims.
"Based upon his access to children and the nature of the allegations in this case, we believe there is a possibility there are unidentified child victims," said Kevin Kelly, Special Agent-in-Charge for HSI Buffalo, which covers the region. "We encourage anyone in the Rochester area who may have information that could be relevant to the case to come forward."
Members of the public who have information related to this case are urged to contact the local HSI Buffalo Office at 716-464-5923.
Brockport Central School District leaders say they're cooperating with the investigation, but see no reason to believe the arrest has any connection to his position.
“The key thing is as an educator is that we our first and foremost responsibility is to ensure students are learning and so beyond that in this particular case we want students to know that school is a safe place to learn and so we are working and partnering with both law enforcement and with Bivona (Child Advocacy Center) to ensure that, that continues to be a reality for our students and their families," said Lesli Myers, the district's superintendent.
Roland was hired as a probationary full-time teacher this year. He subbed intermittently for the district prior to then.