NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A longtime Vernon teacher and coach faces multiple charges related to child pornography, disorderly conduct, and voyeurism.
Vernon Police arrested Christian Stevenson, 52, on Monday and charged him with the following:
- Importing child pornography
- Second-degree illegal possession of child pornography
- Eight counts of voyeurism
- Nine counts of disorderly conduct
- Four counts of voyeurism with a child under 16 years of age
- Four counts of risk of injury to a minor
Stevenson was a teacher and the varsity golf coach at Rockville High School, according to arrest warrants. Students tell News 8 he was well-liked by the student body.
William Johns, a senior at the school, said, “He acted like sort of a father or brother figure to almost half of the class. I would stay after school and talk with him about – he was a social studies teacher – modern politics my personal views, and he would stay there and listen; it felt like he trusted me and I really trusted him.”
Superintendent of Vernon Public Schools Dr. Joseph Macary said the district was notified police were investigating Stevenson on Sept. 15 and placed him on administrative leave. He resigned the same day, Macary said.
The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. Vernon Public Schools
expects all staff to strictly adhere to the district’s high standards of professional conduct and code
On September 15, 2021 Vernon Public Schools was notified by the Vernon Police Department
that Rockville High School teacher Christian Stevenson was the subject of a police investigation. Upon learning this information, Vernon Public Schools took immediate action and placed Mr. Stevenson on administrative leave. Mr. Stevenson resigned his employment the same day and is no longer an employee of Vernon Public Schools.
There is an on-going investigation and the district is working cooperatively with the Vernon PoliceSuperintendent of Vernon Public Schools Dr. Joseph Macary
Department. Due to the on-going police investigation, any further inquiries should be forwarded
to the Vernon Police Department. Thank you.“
Police say their investigation started with a tip that Stevenson was downloading child pornography.
Digital forensics analysis linked some of the images back to Stevenson, arrest warrants said. Investigators said some of the charges are related to images taken surreptitiously of underage students inside the school. In one case, police said they found 35 photographs taken at various angles and distances in Stevenson’s classroom.
Police said the student confirmed the photos were taken of her in one of her social studies classes without her knowledge or consent in 2018. She said she was devastated because she respected Stevenson so much.
Lt. Robert Marra of Vernon Police said, “We have done some forensic analysis of the devices we have in our custody and we have reached out to the people we have identified in those images and interview them to this point.”
They also found, “photographs of students at school sporting events, as well as young children in stores, at resort swimming pools, and on city streets.”
Joshua Whaley, a former student, reacted like this: “Crazy stuff about girls under the skirts, and the hallways and all that in the library, it’s crazy!…I didn’t think of him as that type of guy, he didn’t seem like it you know, but people have two sides.”
Johns added, “I felt betrayed and I don’t want to speak for my peers, but I know some of them were much closer to him than I was, and I saw them crying in the hallways.”
Stevenson was held on a $300,000 bond and was expected to be arraigned Monday. Police say this is an open investigation more charges may be filed depending on what they find.
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call Vernon Police Detective Thomas Van Tassel at (860) 872-9126.