MORGANTON, N.C. – A third-grade Burke County teacher was fired and jailed for his alleged role in an international child pornography ring.
Michael Andrew Alexander, 54, of N. Meadows St., Glen Alpine was arrested Wednesday following investigations conducted by European and American authorities.
He has been charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a child, five counts of sexually exploiting a minor and one count of sexual offense with a child.
Until Tuesday, Alexander had worked as a drama teacher at Hildebran Elementary for seven years.
U.S. and local law enforcement became aware of Alexander’s alleged crimes after they were contacted by Europol agents conducting an investigation on an international child pornography ring in Spain.
Tapes confiscated from the arrest of Javier Alvarez Varela in Barcelona revealed that Varela had been in contact with someone in Hildebran, exchanging photographs and videos of children in indecent positions.
The media taken from Varela’s possession included many depictions of girls from 4 to 11-years old in various sexual situations, both with each other and with an adult male.
Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said the girls in the videos and photographs could be seen wearing Hildebran T-shirts.
The children’s clothing led investigators to Alexander.
When federal investigators believed they had discovered enough evidence against Alexander, local authorities were informed and Alexander was arrested Wednesday evening.
Alexander was confined in Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $1 million bond.
Whisenant stated that Alexander has been cooperating with law enforcement, but there are suspicions that his crimes exceed what has been reported.
“Our concern now is trying to protect the victims and ensure justice is done for any child that has been harmed by this man,” Whisenant said.
Alexander, who is married with two children of his own, has had no previous charges of this nature.
His family was unavailable for comment.
While local, state and federal authorities are still conducting multiple investigations they have asked those with information concerning the above charges to contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 438-5500.