A food services contract worker faces child pornography charges after employees at a Texas elementary school discovered a hidden camera in the boys’ bathroom, police said.
Scott Gelardi, a 42-year-old Aramark employee from Rosenberg, was arrested Tuesday as he arrived for work at Northside Elementary School, El Campo police said in a statement Wednesday.
Using surveillance video, police identified Gelardi as a suspect after school maintenance employees found a camera on Monday containing pictures and videos of students in the bathroom, the El Campo Independent School District said in a statement.
Gelardi was charged with invasive visual recording in a bathroom, possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography with intent to promote, according to police and records from the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible, police said.
Lt. Roddy Rodriguez of the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office told CNN that Gelardi had requested a court-appointed attorney. He added that his $70,000 bond was posted and that Gelardi had been released on Thursday afternoon.
“El Campo Independent School District is saddened, disturbed, and angered by the alleged actions of this individual,” the district said in a statement. “We thank and applaud the El Campo Police Department for its work related to this incident.”
The school district said it would not comment further because of the ongoing investigation.
Police said that none of the children who were recorded have been identified, and that there is no evidence that Gelardi had physical contact with any children.
The school district said it searched restrooms and locker rooms in all of its schools as a precautionary measure, but nothing further was found. The district added that every person working on its campuses was subject to strict and extensive background checks.
Aramark said that Gelardi had passed a background check before he started working and that he had been fired after the company learned of the allegations.
“Yesterday we were made aware of very disturbing allegations involving one of our employees,” the company said in a statement. “We immediately launched an investigation and terminated his employment. The employee passed a background check, including a sex offender registry check, prior to starting work in the El Campo ISD. We are fully cooperating with the authorities on their investigation into this matter.”
The Texas Attorney General’s Child Exploitation Unit is assisting with the investigation, police said. Investigators have executed search warrants at Gelardi’s apartment, his school office and his vehicle, and forensic examination of the cameras was scheduled to take place.