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Polk County teacher Lawrence Hughes charged for child porn possession admits: "I was addicted to porn"

11:07 AM, Jun 14, 2013   |    comments
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BARTOW, Fla. -- Sheriff Grady Judd announced Thursday the arrest of 59-year-old Lawrence Hughes, a research instructor at Union Academy Magnet School in Bartow.

"We know this is a bad, bad school teacher," said Sheriff Judd.

Polk Sheriff's Investigators report finding lewd images of young boys, on not one, but two of Hughes' school computers after a student working in the classroom noticed a pop-up window from the FBI warning that child pornography had been downloaded.

"A forensic examination showed between the two computers more than 20 child porn images. This was all kinds of lewd conduct to include adults and children having sex," said Sheriff Judd.

The investigation began back on May 28. Hughes was finally arrested Thursday in his front driveway as the Sheriff's Office says he was trying to leave with his wife for a vacation in the Carolinas.

In a press conference, Sheriff Judd explained Hughes' reaction.

"[Hughes] said 'I'm addicted to pornography, but I don't download child pornography, but if it downloads I put it on a thumb drive...'"

But before Judd finished quoting him, he interjected to prep his listeners, "Are you ready for this?"

"'and I take it to school and put it on the school's computers,'" finished Judd. "Are you kidding me?"

None of Hughes' neighbors wanted to talk about the charges but Sheriff Judd had plenty to say, disgusted by the middle school teacher's alleged actions.

"It infuriates me that some guy like this would ruin the reputation, or try to ruin the reputation, of all the hard-working, fantastic school teachers we have in this community."

In addition to being a teacher for the past 30 years in Polk County Schools, Hughes also served as principal of Lakeland's Evangelical Christian School from 1987-1989.

For the past 22 years, the Sheriff's Office says he was part of a mentoring program where he spent lots of time camping and supervising young boys.

Sheriff Judd says there are reports of Hughes wrestling with some of these teen and pre-teen boys, something the Sheriff calls "unusual behavior for a middle school teacher."

Anyone with information on this teacher's involvement with young people is asked to call the Polk Sheriff's Office.

WTSP-TV

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