Saturday September 1, 2012

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Federal child pornography charges against a former Vermont elementary school teacher have been dismissed, but his lawyer lamented that the man had already lost his job and reputation.

John Dockum, 34, had pleaded not guilty in February to state charges on five felony counts of possession of child pornography. The state dismissed its charges, allowing federal prosecutors to review the case. He was never formally indicted, and federal prosecutors filed a motion Friday to dismiss their case, according to the Bennington Banner (http://bit.ly/N5h5Es).

A police deposition showed there's no evidence Dockum knew he had child pornography images on his computer, which is a necessary component of criminal possession, said Dockum's attorney, David Silver of Bennington. He said Dockum had visited a website that placed the 17 images that led to the charges into his computer's temporary Internet cache.

The Bennington School District fired Dockum in February. He had taught at Monument Elementary School since 2009.

Silver called the case "a tragedy," adding that his client was a popular teacher and has lost his job and reputation.

"I don't know how he gets that back," he said.