Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

June 7, 2006

Flora teacher arrested for child pornography still in custody

FLORA — A former Flora Unit 35 sixth-grade math teacher will remain in federal custody on child pornography charges after a federal judge denied his eligibility for bail.

Dennis Wayne Casolari, 55, of 455 Flora Ave. appeared in U.S. District Court in Benton Tuesday for a detention hearing where he was denied bond.

Casolari was arrested in the parking lot of a hotel in Carmel, Ind., on May 28, where he thought he was meeting a young boy to engage in sex acts with, said Tim Green, assistant police chief of Carmel Police Department.

Det. John Pirics of the police department, posing as a teenage boy as part of an investigation, had been communicating with Casolari through the Internet and arranged a meeting with the junior high teacher, Green said.

When Casolari showed up for the meeting, he was arrested and charged with attempted child solicitation and attempted child molestation, Green said. Casolari was taken into custody and detained at Hamilton County Jail. On May 29, he posted $25,000 bond and was released.

Flora Police Department obtained a search warrant for Casolari’s residence after receiving information from Carmel authorities, said Flora Police Chief Rick Perry. The search was conducted the same day Casolari was arrested.

Flora Police Department and the FBI initiated a criminal investigation, along with the help of Pirics, and Casolari was arrested May 31 by the FBI on possesion of child pornography, said Marshall Stone, media coordinator for the FBI. He has been in federal custody since May 31.

A criminal complaint was filed on June 1 in U.S. District Court charging Casolari with one count of possession of child pornography.

Casolari had taught at the Flora School District since 1996, said Flora Superintendent Linda Spicer.

The teacher turned in his resignation last week after charges were filed against him.

“There’s no prior indication of any wrongdoing in the school district (by Casolari),” Spicer said.

Alta Mayhugh can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 131 or alta.mayhugh@effinghamdailynews.com.

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