A Waco Independent School District elementary school teacher was arrested Thursday on possession of child pornography charges by members of the Texas Attorney General’s Office Child Exploitation Unit.

Jeremy Luke Adler, 37, a fourth-grade teacher at Cedar Ridge Elementary School, was taken into custody Thursday morning while members of the Texas AG’s office executed a search warrant at his home on Western Oaks Drive in Woodway.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant obtained by Sgt. J.D. Newlin of the AG’s office, Adler drew the attention of law enforcement agencies when a Cybertipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children listed an alert from Google that Adler reportedly uploaded two images of child pornography on Dec. 9.

The uploads reportedly linked to Adler depict “a nude prepubescent female child, approximately 8-10 years of age,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

After reviewing the images, Newlin obtained a subpoena for Grande Communications records and learned the Internet Protocol address for the computer from which the images were sent was in Adler’s name at his home address.

Earlier this month, Newlin got a search warrant for Adler’s Gmail account, which indicated multiple Internet searches for sites with children performing sex acts.

“Through affiant’s training and experience and the training and experience of other investigators who work these types of cases, affiant knows that these types of searches are indicative of someone attempting to locate child pornography,” Newlin wrote in the affidavit.

Adler’s faculty page had been removed by Thursday morning from the Cedar Ridge Elementary School website. Adler’s social media accounts indicate he is a U.S. Army veteran. The “about” section of his Facebook page contains sexually explicit quotes.

Waco ISD spokesman Kyle DeBeer said Adler, who was on a probationary teaching contract with the district this year, resigned Thursday morning in lieu of termination. Waco ISD officials have no reason to believe that Adler’s alleged behavior involved district students, DeBeer said.

Adler was a tutor at Lake Air Montessori Magnet School during the 2015-16 school year. He was a teaching intern and substitute teacher at Brook Avenue Elementary School and Lake Air Montessori during the 2016-17 school year. He started teaching fourth grade at Cedar Ridge in April 2017, according to school officials.

DeBeer said the situation is shocking. The district’s extensive background check includes criminal history and a finger print check, but nothing in Adler’s background check raised any red flags, he said. The district also already filed a report to the State Board of Educator Certification to underscore the circumstances surrounding Adler’s resignation, DeBeer said.

The district only looks into applicants’ social media accounts if someone involved in the hiring process raises concerns related to social media or if an applicant’s accounts are part of their application, DeBeer said. The policy of not looking at every applicant’s social media accounts is intended to avoid the possibility of discrimination based on information in the accounts, he said.

It is unclear whether Adler’s background check involved looking at social media, DeBeer said.

“These are deeply disturbing allegations. We are working closely with state law enforcement officials to support their investigation,” DeBeer said. “As of today, Mr. Adler is not a Waco ISD employee, and he will not be allowed back on our campuses under any circumstance.”

The search warrant asked for permission to seize computers, cellphones, video cameras, digital cameras, photos and videos of children under 18 engaged in sex acts.

Waco ISD officials were first alerted to the investigation at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, and Waco ISD police officers helped investigators secure Adler’s classroom Thursday morning. District officials also gave permission for investigators to search Adler’s room, DeBeer said.

As of Thursday afternoon, students were placed in other classrooms while district officials worked to find a new teacher to take over the class, DeBeer said. Parents were notified by a team of school officials at Cedar Ridge Elementary, who contacted parents on an individual basis to alert them to the situation and help them work through any concerns. Letters were also sent home from all of the campuses Adler served previously, he said. Emails went out to parents districtwide, he said.

“It’s absolutely important that every student feels they have a safe and welcoming learning environment, and understand we want to make that happen as students are returning to class and learning of the disturbing allegations,” DeBeer said.

Woodway Public Safety Director Yost Zakhary said in a press release Adler also was charged with possession of a controlled substance based on items found at his residence. The drugs were seized appear to be some form of steroids and will be sent off for testing, Zakhary said.

The McLennan County Hot Check Department also added a misdemeanor theft charge from last year against Adler. Additional details of the theft charge were not available Thursday night.

Waco ISD school board President Pat Atkins said the allegations, if true, are “disgusting.”

“We will not tolerate any employee who engages in this behavior,” Atkins said. “I appreciate that the administration moved swiftly to remove Mr. Adler from his teaching position.”

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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