BATH – A jury today cleared a former Thorndike schoolteacher of two charges of possessing child pornography.

Michael J. Douglas, 43, of Augusta was accused of two counts of possession of sexually explicit materials of minors around March 31, 2009, in Augusta. One charge said the minors were under age 12; the other charge said the minors were under age 16.

The jury returned two verdicts of not guilty after deliberating about two hours.

He was acquitted by the judge Monday in Sagadahoc County Superior Court of two additional charges where he was accused of possessing the materials at Mount View Junior School in Thorndike where Douglas was a science teacher for more than four years.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker, told jurors Douglas possessed the material on his school-issued laptop and his home computer in Augusta around March 31, 2009.

Jurors took printouts of two of the images into the jury room with them.

“Look at those images,” Walker told them before they left. “You will see what Mr. Douglas saw and saw hundreds of times on his home computer and on his school-issued computer where he was a teacher.

He sought out these images on the Internet. He found them. We know he used certain words to search.”

Witnesses for the defense, called by attorney Walter McKee, testified that Douglas was unable to do all but the simplest Internet searches.

McKee said Douglas viewed child pornography but did not possess it.

“He did not possess anything at all,” McKee said. “What he did was look at an image on a website somewhere else. He did not control it; he did not have dominion over it. He looked at an image that was somewhere else.”

McKee likened Douglas’actions in looking at the material to a person reading the WikiLeaks documents online.

“Under the state’s theory, if you look at those documents and you see those stolen documents, because you could download and could print them, you are in possession,” McKee said. “When someone goes on the Internet and looks at an image, it is not possession.”

Douglas opted against testifying at his trial.

The jury of nine men and three women began deliberating shortly after 11 a.m. today.

Douglas resigned his post at Mount View on April 3, 2009, shortly after the administration confronted him after a school computer technician reported that questionable websites had been accessed on the school laptop.

A spokesman for the Maine Department of Education said Tuesday that Douglas is currently certified to teach general education in grades kindergarten through 8. The certification is due to expire July 1, 2013.

For years, Douglas has taught survival skills at the Maine Primitive Skills School in his home in Augusta.