WATERFORD – A former school volunteer and occasional substitute teacher in SAD 17 is being investigated for having and possibly disseminating child pornography, a Maine State Police detective wrote in a sworn statement filed in Oxford County District Court on Feb. 20 and made public Wednesday.

The FBI’s Portland office notified state police in February that Richard Beebe, 68, of 67 Beyer Road in Waterford, had chatted online with an FBI investigator posing as a single mother of two children under the age of 5, according to the affidavit filed by Maine State Police Detective John Hainey.

“The conversations took place on Yahoo Messenger and involved the male (Beebe) inquiring about different sex acts the mother performed on her 5-year-old daughter,” Hainey wrote. “Beebe stated that he works in an elementary school and he gets special hugs from two little girls but must be careful at school because he is not even supposed to touch the children.”

Beebe also e-mailed a photograph of a female child in a school setting to the investigator, Hainey wrote. The child was later identified by Maine State Trooper Adam Fillebrown as a student at the Waterford School. The photograph was not pornographic in nature but, according to the affidavit, Beebe stated he took it at the school while working as a volunteer.

But Fillebrown also told Hainey he had received some complaints from parents about Beebe including concern over his hugging children and allowing them to sit on his lap, Hainey wrote. “Trooper Fillebrown believes that the school spoke with Beebe about his behavior and actions,” Hainey wrote.

A check of state records by the Sun Journal on Wednesday showed Beebe is not a registered sex offender in Maine and has no prior criminal convictions. His driving record also showed no traffic violations.

A message left at a number listed to Beebe seeking comment Tuesday was not returned by Wednesday.

In a Feb. 16 letter SAD 17 Superintendent Mark Eastman wrote to parents of children at the school that Beebe was being investigated and that the state police had asked him to notify them. Eastman did not write what Beebe was being investigated for but did ask parents with any information on Beebe to contact him, the school’s principal or the state police.

“The state police have informed us that they have not discovered any wrongdoing relating to any student at any of our schools,” Eastman wrote. “As you know, the safety of your children is our most important concern.” The superintendent also wrote that all criminal history record checks and fingerprinting of all substitute teachers was a common practice. Eastman wrote that Beebe had been a substitute teacher for only one day in the current school year.

In his affidavit Hainey writes that Beebe admitted to investigators, “he might have as many as 100 images of mostly young girls (he stated some as young as 5 years old) having oral sex with each other.” A detective with the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force in Lewiston later discovered at least one image that has been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as child pornography.

The affidavit identifies the image as one in a series of images known to be child pornography but it doesn’t state where the images were created or where they originated. Also in the affidavit, Hainey also details a list of computer equipment and media storage devices that had been taken from Beebe’s home. Computer forensic investigators will look for any additional possibly illegal images and for any evidence suggesting Beebe shared the images with others online.

Beebe has not been charged but the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s office for possible prosecution, Maine State Detective Sgt. Walter Grzyb said Tuesday.

Eastman said Beebe has been barred from school property since he was notified of the on-going investigation. The Waterford School also has tightened security requiring all outside doors be locked during school hours as a result, he said.

A review of Sun Journal archives also showed Beebe offered classes at the Waterford Public Library in early 2006 on how to use the Internet.

When asked Monday, members of SAD 17’s board of directors said they had no further details on Beebe and did not know anything specific about the investigation.

Parents with any information regarding Beebe are being asked to contact Eastman at 743-8972 or Waterford School Principal Margaret Emery at 583-4418, or the state police barracks in Gray at 657-3030.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.