Clearwater teacher arrested on child porn charges

- Police in Largo arrested a sixth-grade teacher for possession of child pornography, even after he tossed the suspected laptop into a lake.

It was back on March 15 when officers responded to an apartment along Country Club Drive.  Officers say Robert James Plotkin’s roommate called them about child pornography on Plotkin's computer.

Before police could arrive, they say Plotkin tossed his laptop into the lake behind the apartment complex, but later retrieved it and willingly gave the computer to police.

Detectives were able to recover at least 10 child pornographic images from the waterlogged computer’s hard drive.

“These were young children, ranging in ages from 3 to 17 years of age, posed in sexual-type situations,” said Lt. Joe Coyle with the Largo Police Department.

Plotkin faces at least 10 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

Plotkin’s neighbors said the charges do not match his character.

“He’s a very nice, upstanding person. There have never been any children over here. There have never been any unusual sounds, expect for these kids that moved in,” said nextdoor neighbor Janice Lane.

Lane said Plotkin allowed his roommate, a 23-year-old woman, and later her boyfriend, to move into his apartment with him. According to police, the young woman is a former student he taught while working in Colorado.

Plotkin, 57, was taken from class for question by police on Tuesday at Clearwater Intermediate School.  He was later arrested.

According to Pinellas County School officials, Plotkin has taught social studies and math at the school for five years. His disciplinary record is clean.

Police do not believe Plotkin’s charges are tied to any students at the middle school.

Plotkin has been moved to a “non-student work site,” according to school officials, as the investigation continues.

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