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Teacher kept ‘meticulous’ child porn scrapbooks in his classroom, police say

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah —  A middle school teacher at American Preparatory Academy in West Valley City was arrested Thursday after school administrators told police he possessed and accessed child pornography in his classroom.

Michael Scott Hatfield faces seven felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three misdemeanor counts of accessing pornographic material on school property. (Credit: SLC County/KSTU)

Michael Scott Hatfield faces seven felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three misdemeanor counts of accessing pornographic material on school property.

According to a probable cause statement from West Valley City police, American Preparatory Academy administrators contacted the police department on April 20.

Police said they reviewed surveillance video from Hatfield’s classroom and observed three instances when Hatfield covered up the camera. Although the camera lens was obscured, police said, the surveillance system captured audio suggesting that Hatfield was masturbating during the three instances.

According to the statement, school administrators also provided police with a black bag retrieved from Hatfield’s classroom. The bag, police said, contained a commercial pornography DVD, a bottle of lotion and two photo albums containing pornographic photos of both children and adults.

The photo albums contained collage-style pages with cutouts and photos of nude girls, the probable cause statement said, and “each page was unique depicting a level of meticulous attention in the creation and compilation of the album.”

Police served a warrant at Hatfield’s Midvale home on the afternoon of April 22. Hatfield was read his Miranda rights and invoked his right to an attorney, the statement said. During a search of Hatfield’s home, police said they recovered “evidence pertinent to the manufacture of the scrapbook.”

Hatfield was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. In the probable cause statement, the arresting officer requested a bail amount of $100,000 due to Hatfield’s position of trust as a middle school teacher “and the risk to children that is posed.”

American Preparatory Academy released the following statement Monday:

On Thursday, April 20, 2017, American Preparatory Academy discovered that a male faculty member had covered the security camera in his classroom. Since classroom cameras are in place at APA for the protection of our entire school community, covering them is unacceptable and resulted in further investigation. The teacher was immediately interviewed by school administration and placed on administrative leave within a few hours of the incident.

A subsequent search of the classroom revealed what appeared to be inappropriate materials. As a result APA immediately referred the matter to local law enforcement for further action.

Carolyn Sharette, Executive Director at American Prep, states: “American Preparatory Academy is deeply concerned should any employee have inappropriate materials in possession on school grounds. We are grateful we have cameras in classrooms and astute staff members who monitor continually for our students’ safety. We are cooperating fully with the West Valley City Police Department in their investigation.”

As with all faculty and staff, the employee in question underwent and passed a Utah State Board of Education background check, including a Livescan fingerprinting and a Bureau of Criminal Identification report. He was subject of another background check January 24, 2016, which resulted in a satisfactory report on March 22, 2016 and a reissuance of his license by the USBE.

There were no prior questionable incidents during his employment at the school.

To date APA has received no information or report of any student involvement in this case.