PORTLAND — Bond for a Biddeford man charged with child pornography and attempting to transmit obscene images to a minor has been set at $25,000 unsecured, with several conditions.

Jesse Kiesel, 48, was arrested Friday and spent the weekend in federal custody. An education technician at Biddeford Middle School, he was placed on administrative leave from his job in April.

A Biddeford man charged with possession of child pornography made a first appearance in federal court on Monday. Jesse Kiesel was placed on leave from his job as an education technician at Biddeford Middle School in April, when the School Department was first informed of the allegations. Christopher Williams / Sun Journal file photo

On Monday he appeared before Magistrate John H. Rich, where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Conditions of his release include that he not be on any school property and not associate or have verbal, written, telephonic or electronic communication with people under 18, except in the presence of an approved responsible adult aware of his charges. He is to be under supervision by the U.S. Probation and Pre-Trial Services Office; obtain medical or psychological treatment as directed; pay costs associated with location monitoring based on his ability to pay; and report any questioning, traffic stops or arrest by law enforcement. He is to comply with the requirements of the computer and internet monitoring program and pay for the monitoring services. He is to comply with searches of his computer or other media.

Other conditions include that he notifies the court before making any change in his residence or phone number, appears in court as required, provides a DNA sample and refrains from violating the law while released.

His next court date has not been scheduled. 

A clerk at the U.S. District Court in Portland late Monday afternoon said Kiesel had been released. 

Officials with Biddeford School Department said they took immediate action when they were informed of allegations that a school education technician had been accused of a federal crime. 

School Superintendent Jeremy Ray said he had not received any information that suggests Kiesel had inappropriate contact with students. 

“The Biddeford School Department is fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students. We are vigilant in properly vetting any individual who works directly or indirectly with our students,” Ray said in a news release issued  Saturday. “I am unable to comment on personnel matters but can verify the employee passed the Maine Department of Education’s fingerprinting and background check. Immediately upon learning of the allegation, we took the appropriate actions and are cooperating with government agencies, including law enforcement, in their investigation.” 

Parents or guardians with concerns should direct inquiries to the Superintendent’s Office at 282-8280, he said. 

Ray said Kiesel had worked at the School Department some years ago, left, and then returned. 

The School Department “initiated an internal investigation to ensure that our Biddeford students are safe and to assess whether support services are necessary,” the release stated. The School Department also notified the Department of Health and Human Services; filed a report with the Maine Department of Education’s fingerprinting and background checks division, and through its attorneys, requested any information relevant to the case from prosecutors and the courts. 

Federal prosecutors allege Kiesel engaged in an internet chat in April with an undercover member of law enforcement who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. 

 Numerous images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were recovered from his computer following execution of a search warrant at his Biddeford home, the news release issued by the office of the U.S. Attorney said. 

Attorney John Webb is representing Kiesel. “We haven’t seen the evidence yet and haven’t talked to the government yet,” said Webb on Friday evening. “But we will evaluate the case and decide how we are going to proceed.” 

According to a court affidavit filed by Task Force Officer Ronald Phillips of Homeland Security Investigations, a search warrant executed at Kiesel’s home in May turned up a computer that allegedly contained numerous images believed to be of child pornography, including photographs of minor girls in various stages of undress and a video that included a sex act. 

In his affidavit, Phillips wrote that Kiesel agreed to a voluntary interview and told investigators he used chat websites to engage in private conversations with juveniles. He allegedly told investigators that children sent explicit images of themselves to him in chats, and when that happened, he ended the conversation. He allegedly admitted to sending an explicit photo of himself to a juvenile “maybe once,” said he has used online chats since the 1990s and had started chatting with young people about a year ago. He allegedly told the investigator he believed he had an addiction. According to the affidavit, Kiesel told the investigator he never acted on “any of that stuff,” and “never hurt anybody.”

If convicted, Kiesel faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge.

Biddeford Police Department, Newbury (Massachusetts) Police Department and the United States Marshals Service are assisting Homeland Security Investigations in the case.

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