Davidson County Schools IT employee charged with possessing child pornography

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- An information technology employee at Davidson County Schools faces numerous child pornography charges.

Michael Andrew Smith, 34, of Lexington, is charged with 10 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a news release.

A Davidson County Schools official confirmed Smith was an IT employee with the school system.

"Student and staff safety is of paramount concern for everyone with Davidson County Schools and we are deeply saddened and surprised by charges against one of our former employees, Andy Smith, Computer System Specialist," the school system said in a news release. "This is an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and we will continue to partner with law enforcement to ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff."

The Davidson County Sheriff's Office conducted a drug investigation at Smith's residence on Saturday. During the investigation, detectives received consent from Smith to search his cellphone.

Detectives noticed that "pre-teen sex" had been searched on Smith's phone.

Smith's cellphone, two laptops, media storage devices and an iPad were seized from the residence.

Authorities received an additional warrant Tuesday on the electrical devices and located more than 20 videos involving child pornography, the news release said. The videos involved children ranging from infants to about 10 to 12 years old who were having sexual intercourse with adult males.

Authorities said there is no evidence of any physical contact between Smith and children, and said they do not believe he filmed the children in the videos.

“These were things he downloaded off the Internet,” said Davidson County Sheriff David Grice.

Grice added that there’s no indication that Smith used his position with the school district to take advantage of children or download videos with work equipment.

“He did not have direct contact with children though he visited different schools to work on computers and so forth and had most of his interaction with adults,” said Grice.

The sheriff said charging Smith or others with possessing videos like this could prevent acts that harm children close to home.

“We want to make sure it doesn't turn into a situation where they get desensitized to the point where they feel like they should participate directly in these acts instead of watching these acts on a video,” said Grice.

Smith was placed in the Davidson County Detention Center on Tuesday under a $1 million secured bond. He is scheduled to appear in court June 30.