Former state-run charter school teacher arrested on child porn charges

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A former state-run charter school teacher has been arrested on child pornography charges.

John Wernly, 30, worked at the Albuquerque School of Excellence on Lomas at Tramway from August 2015 to February 2016 as a middle and high school Spanish teacher.

On Wednesday, Wernly was arrested for distribution and possession of child pornography by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office through an investigation with the Attorney General’s Office.

“We found him sharing child pornography online where potentially millions of other people have downloaded it,” Detective Kyle Hartsock said.

A search warrant was executed at Wernly’s home, where dozens of images of children five to eight years old were discovered.

During the investigation, Hartsock learned that Wernly worked very closely with kids.

“Which of course puts us at more concern, because once again, the things that we fantasize about sexually if we’re given the opportunity to live those out, generally speaking if we think we can get away with it, we will,” Hartsock said.

Wernly does not have a criminal history in New Mexico.

In a statement, the Kristi Del Curto, dean of ASE, said:

Albuquerque School of Excellence would like to inform everyone of an incident that occurred, involving a past teacher. This incident does not involve ASE, but we feel that it is important due to the nature of this issue. ASE was informed by APD, that Mr. Wernly has been detained on child pornography charges. Mr. Wernly was employed at ASE from August 2015 through February 2016 as the Spanish teacher for Middle/High school. ASE conducts a background check on all staff, as we did so with Mr. Wernly. No red flags were reported at the time of his employment. The investigation into these charges by APD does not involve ASE and our school did not have any complaints about Mr. Wernly’s conduct during his employment. Please feel free to contact ASE if you have any questions, as ASE takes this type of incident very seriously.

*NOTE: Although Del Curto references APD in her statement, the investigation is being conducted by BCSO.

Hartsock says the images that were found do not appear to be of Albuquerque children, however, he does hope that if local victims exist, that they will come forward.

The Public Education Department released this statement:

“These are deeply troubling allegations, and we are immediately launching an investigation into the individual’s teaching license. Our children deserve a safe place to learn, and no one with these allegations should have access or close contact with kids at school.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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