A Northern California physical education teacher has been arrested for allegedly having at least 1,000 images of child pornography on his home computer, police said Thursday.
San Jose police Sgt. Detective Greg Lombardo said that the images found on Nathan Forstell's computer were both still photographs and video images of children, mostly between the ages of 4 and 9.
Detectives from the sexual assault and child exploitation unit searched Forstell's house on La Palma Drive in East San Jose on Wednesday morning, and found the pornography there.
Lombardo said at this point, the images appear to be stock pornography, but investigators are now fanning out to his students to interview them to see if they had been part of his illegal collection. Forstell is not accused of manufacturing the porn.
Still, Lombardo said that police are now considering whether to press the case in federal court, instead of state court, because the penalties are stiffer.
On Wednesday morning, police took Forstell, 44, into custody at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Seaside, on the Monterey Peninsula, for possessing the illegal images.
KSBW reported that Forstell began working at the school in August. He lived with his brother in Seaside, the news station reported, but the police investigation is centered around his San Jose home.
Forstell was previously employed by the Alum Rock Union School District in San Jose as a substitute teacher from 2009 to Feb. 10, the Superintendent Stephen Fiss said.
Fiss said Forstell's resume stated he had also worked at Crittenden Middle School in Mountain View and El Sausal Middle School in Salinas.
Detectives are currently trying to determine the identity of the children from the evidence they collected.
"At the moment, there is no confirmation that any of the children in the child pornography possessed by Mr. Forstell were in fact Alum Rock students," Fiss said.
Fiss sent out a letter about the arrest on Thursday and alerted parents through automated phone calling.
One of Forstell's relatives contacted by NBC Bay Area on Thursday refused to comment.
Martin Luther King Elementary School administrators in Seaside said they were shocked about the charges against Forstell. He passed a background check when he was hired last year, and no complaints were filed against him.
Fiss also said that Forstell had cleared the routine and mandated Department of Justice clearance check.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Sean Pierce #3415 the San Jose Police Department's Sexual Assaults Unit (Child Exploits/Internet Crimes Against Children Detail) at (408) 537-1381. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867), or may visit: http://svcrimestoppers.org/, and may be eligible for a reward.