Child advocates weigh in after SCS educator arrested on child exploitation charges

Crime

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A Shelby County Schools employee is accused of uploading more than 100 images of child pornography to a Google server.

Patrick Albano is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.  

An SCS spokesperson says he’s an instructional support advisor.

Police said they found images of boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 15 engaged in sex acts on Albano’s Google Drive account.

Albano appeared Thursday morning in court, and an SCS spokesperson said he’s on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Patrick Albano

The educator’s arrest reinforces the need for parents to keep tabs of their children online, and how local law enforcement relies on tips from a national database to track down and arrest accused adult online predators.

A Shelby County Schools spokesperson said Albano didn’t work directly with students in his role as instructional support advisor. But police said the 30-year-old uploaded dozens of images and videos of sexual acts involving children between ages 10 to 15.

Authorities said seven tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s cyber tip line led them to the child pornography on a Google subscribed account – and IP address – registered to Albano.

“This cyber tip line helps us create prevention education materials, which allow us to spot trends,” Callahan Walsh said.

Walsh with the Center said that tip line took in more than 18 million tips on exploitation of children in 2018, highlighting the risks kids face online.

“We don’t operate in a bubble and the best way to do it is sharing that information. Knowledge really is powerful,” Walsh said.

The dangers of child pornography are part of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center’s Stewards of Children training for parents, in place since 2011.

“It is an extreme portal where predators do reach out to children, they are approaching children,” Memphis Child Advocacy Center Prevention Director Kris Crim said.

Staff said parents can protect children online by: eliminating adult-child interactions that can’t be observed, letting your kids know you’ll be checking their activity, and enabling parental controls.

“Parents have to be really proactive and involved in their child’s online activities,” Crim said.

Albano is due in court next Thursday. His bond is currently set at $150,000.

For additional information parents can use about online safety: Go to missingkids.org and memphiscac.org.

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