William Knudsen allegedly had more than 1,000 sexually explicit images of kids on his home computer
TROUTDALE - A local elementary school counselor is accused of possessing more than 1,000 sexually explicit images of young children.
Federal prosecutors charged William Knudsen, 64, a longtime counselor at Troutdale Elementary School, with possession and receipt of child pornography on Thursday after Knudsen turned himself in to Gresham police.
Following a tip that Knudsen had child pornography on his home computer, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Gresham Police detectives searched Knudsen's home and uncovered 'more than 1,000 videotapes, compact discs, DVDs and external hard drives, as well as binders containing images of prepubescent minors engaged in illicit sexual conduct,' according to federal prosecutors.
Officials said Friday that Knudsen admitted to downloading pornography from the Internet and that 'the majority of child pornography he received came from Russian child pornography Web sites and through the UseNet groups to which he subscribed.'
Officials from the Reynolds School District said they were 'horrified,' by the charges.
'It's such a breaking of the essential trust … it revolts me to be honest,' said Reynolds Superintendent Dr. Terry Kneisler.
Knudsen had worked for the district since 1990. He resigned his position effective Thursday, the day of his arrest. Wayne Travillion, Reynolds' director of human resources, said Knudsen came from a background of social and community work before becoming a school counselor and had many recommendations.
'The district has been taken totally by surprise by these allegations,' Travillion said. 'There is no past history of behavior that would have caused us to suspect any involvement in child pornography.'
Parents familiar with Knudsen worried Friday that local children might be involved.
'My son said he saw him videotaping a girl jumping rope on the playground,' said a parent of four former Troutdale Elementary students who wishes to remain anonymous. 'From what I've heard, it wasn't uncommon for him to videotape students. My fear is: what if some of those pictures are of my kids?'
Troutdale Elementary Principal Anne Chudek said Friday that Knudsen sometimes acted as the 'school historian,' taking photographs and videotapes of students at special events such as 'math night.'
'He would take pictures, photographs of students for our good-behavior program,' Chudek said. 'Sometimes he would take videos … if he was on the playground with a video camera it would have been school related.'
Travillion said the district was aware that Knudsen took photos and videos of Troutdale Elementary children for school purposes.
'Of course, we're concerned,' Travillion said. 'We are asking how does this involve our students, if at all.'
Sgt. Teddi Anderson, Gresham Police spokeswoman, would not comment on whether images of local children were discovered at Knudsen's home, but said police 'haven't gone through everything yet.'
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Noonan, who is prosecuting Knudsen's case, could not be reached for comment Friday. If convicted, Knudsen faces a minimum of five years imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.
Knudsen's arrest is part of Operation Predator, a federal program designed to identify, investigate, arrest and prosecute child sex predators.