AUGUSTA — A former Monmouth teacher who pleaded guilty a year ago to a felony charge of possessing sexually explicit materials depicting children under 12 withdrew that plea on Tuesday and instead admitted to a lesser misdemeanor offense. 

Under a deal agreed to a year ago, Christopher B. Brown, 56, was sentenced Tuesday to a fully suspended 364-day jail sentence and placed on probation for a year for possession of sexually explicit materials depicting children under 16 on June 8, 2011.

Brown also had pleaded guilty a year ago to a Nov. 2, 2010, theft of a school laptop computer that contained photos of nude children – none local, according to authorities – and served 30 days on that charge.

Brown had taught fifth grade at Monmouth Middle School for more than a dozen years, prior to his arrest. He was first arrested on the charge of sexually explicit materials in June 2011 and placed on administrative leave. He retired shortly after that.

Brown’s attorney, Michael Whipple, was in court Tuesday and unavailable to comment.

At the hearing a year ago, then-Assistant District Attorney Paul Rucha told the judge that an employee of Regional School Unit 2, the school district that includes Monmouth, reported finding “disturbing images” of children on the playground on a classroom computer and checked laptops of teachers who taught those students.

Brown’s laptop was reported missing, and Brown later led state police to where he had hidden the school computer outside his home, Rucha said. Rucha also said Brown admitted to taking the photos.

Sgt. Glenn Lang, head of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit, said earlier that Brown admitted putting images of the heads of local students on other bodies and that it did not appear that any middle school children were in the nude photographs.

Conditions of Brown’s probation ban him from having contact with children under 16 except for supervised contact with grandchildren. He is also banned from possessing sexually explicit materials.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com