Martinez substitute teacher pleads not guilty to child porn charges

A Contra Costa County substitute teacher and former school administrator pleaded not guilty to child porn charges in a Martinez courtroom Tuesday.

David Prashker, 60, made his first court appearance after being arrested Thursday in his Lafayette residence in the 3600 block of Bickerstaff Road, prosecutors said.

Prashker denied charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, as well as attempting to destroy evidence for allegedly tossing a laptop containing child porn from a second-floor bedroom into his backyard while a search warrant was being served.

Prashker was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility and is being held on $205,000 bail.

A public defender assigned to Prashker, Michael Lepie, asked that his client be allowed supervised release from jail, given that he had no criminal record and that his alleged crimes did "not involve touching" any victims.

Prashker was a substitute teacher at two private schools in the central area of the county, but there is no evidence currently that his alleged crimes involved students at the schools.

The prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Jordan Sanders, contended that such aspects of the case are still being investigated. Sanders also argued that Prashker "was at risk of destroying more evidence," referencing the events surrounding his arrest.

Furthermore, Sanders said Prashker is not a citizen of the U.S. His United Kingdom passport has been seized but prosecutors are concerned he could still flee the country.

Prashker was born in London and has lived in places such as France and Israel in the course of his 30-year career as a teacher and school administrator, according to his online biography.

The visiting judge denied the request that Prashker be released with a GPS-enabled ankle monitor.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 3 in Martinez.

If convicted, Prashker faces a maximum penalty of 44 months in prison and fines, prosecutors said.
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