Elementary teacher arrested on child porn charges


A Tenino Elementary School teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on federal charges of possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The 46-year-old fourth-grade teacher, identified as James D. Mobley, was arrested for alleged possession and receipt of child pornography shortly after a search warrant was served on his residence on the 100 block of Custer Street at 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to a press release from the Western District of Washington of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Tenino police.

Mobley has been a teacher for the Tenino School District for more than 10 years, and was also active in Boy Scouts and worked as a private tutor, according to the Tenino School District and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

His arrest was “shocking” and “upsetting,” said Russell Pickett, superintendent for the Tenino School District.

Pickett said the district will make counseling available for all students and staff members affected by the arrest. Mobley worked as a teacher at Tenino Elementary for about 13 years.

Mobley’s fourth-grade class has a permanent substitute teacher in order to provide consistency and a smooth transition for the students, Pickett said.

“We will deal with it on a professional level on what we have to do to make sure the kids, students and staff are safe,” Pickett said. “This is a pretty sad thing for any school district to go through.”

The federal investigation began against Mobley after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service came across evidence of Mobley allegedly purchasing suspected child pornography from an international company, according to the release. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service had been investigating the company, from an unspecified country, that distributed child pornography through the mail and electronic downloads. The company was not named in the release.

In May 2011, a foreign law enforcement agency executed a search of the business and seized hundreds of child pornography DVDs as well as business records, according to the release. An analysis of those records indicated that on multiple occasions between February 2009 and January 2011, Mobley purchases suspected child pornography from the company, according to the release.

During a search of Mobley’s home Wednesday morning, law enforcement seized a computer hard drive and additional DVDs of child pornography, according to the release.

Dave Schroader, a public information officer for the U.S. Postal Inspector Service, said he did not think Mobley has any of his own children. He also said Mobley was home alone at the time of his arrest.

The case is still under investigation by the Tenino Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, according to the release. Parents who are concerned that their children had inappropriate contact with Mobley are urged to contact the Tenino Police Department at (360) 264-2626.

Tenino Police Chief John Hutchings said they were contacted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Wednesday morning to assist in serving the search of his residence. Prior to that, Hutchings said his department did not have contact with or knowledge of Mobley.

Mobley is currently held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac pending a court hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 22.