New Details in PAMS Teacher Child Porn Case

"A teacher who is accessing child pornography is a recipe for disaster," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan

Kenneth Ford Hamilton faces 13 felony child porn counts. Photo: Chesco District Attorney
Kenneth Ford Hamilton faces 13 felony child porn counts. Photo: Chesco District Attorney
The Chester County District Attorney's office is releasing more details in the child porn case against a Phoenixville Area Middle School Special Education and Math teacher.

Kenneth Ford Hamilton Jr.,58, of the 800 block of Kimberton Road in Phoenixville, was arrested Sunday, according to State Police and the Chester County District Attorney.  He is being held in Chester County Prison on $250,000 bail.

According to the District Attorney's office, Hamilton's arrest follows a Pennsylvania State Police investigation into child pornography being shared on the internet.  That investigation led State Police investigators to an IP address linked to Hamilton.

Police executed a search warrant at Hamilton's home on the day before Thanksgiving.  According to an affidavit of probably cause filed in the case, investigators found multiple images and video of child pornography, including images of girls as young as five engaging in sex acts with adults.

"Viewing child pornography often is one of the early steps along the path to sexually abusing children. Gaining regular access to kids is a second step. A teacher who is accessing child pornography is a recipe for disaster," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a news release. 

Hamilton was arrested on Sunday and faces 13 felony counts including possession and distribution of child porn. He is due to appear Thursday in Phoenixville District Court for a preliminary hearing.

Hamilton's arrest sent shockwaves through the PAMS community. The school district sent a letter to the news media and parents Monday detailing what district officials knew so far in the case.

Last month, the school's former principal Troy Czukoski, 43, of Exton, was sentenced to two years in prison, 10 years of supervised release and the payment of fines for possessing more than 150, but less than 300, images of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Michelle December 02, 2013 at 09:21 PM
seriously like parents and school administrators don't have enough to deal with you have to make douche bag comments as always. Can he not be blocked from this page somehow??
harryfinster December 02, 2013 at 09:34 PM
@ michelle in order to fix something you have to find out what is broken first ,your town is broken and your school is a symptom
harryfinster December 02, 2013 at 09:36 PM
you make excuses for your school ,when you should demand responsibility from your overpaid administrators and staff
harryfinster December 02, 2013 at 09:39 PM
how many defective personnel do you need to go to jail before you realize something is wrong
Wendy December 02, 2013 at 10:02 PM
The school board should have done an internal investigation when the CLUELESS principal was found with porn. Anyone who had a conversation with the former principal would have known that he had didn't have a clue ABOUT HOW TO DO HIS JOB? BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE and PROTECTING KIDs.
Kimiko Lotilianuli December 03, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Our children are not safe! This must end!
Muffins December 03, 2013 at 08:37 AM
Background checks show only legally registered offenses. If a man or woman is sitting in their home viewing the internet, that is not an illegal offense. If they are viewing child porn, and get caught, that is illegal. These offenders are really good at playing at being 'normal' in society and hiding it behind closed doors. It's unfortunate that two offenders were apprehended in the PASD. However, I believe that we have a lot of great teachers and administrators in the PASD.
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 08:39 AM
The school board needs outside intervention on several levels, not internally appointed staff or counsel. They are certainly loosing the credibility battle on the legal side and now likely on the public relations side, too. This is crisis management and I'll be surprised if they tackle it head-on.
Su Gould December 03, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Gil, do you have a suggestion as to how any employer would know an employee's personal habits if they do not participate in those habits at work or do not have a record in the databases? If you know a special way to know who is participating in harmful past times please share. Every organization that has adults and children would love the secret. As far as I know the only action employers and organizations that bring in adult volunteers can do is get background checks on the adult, if that comes out "clean" what do they do next?
Su Gould December 03, 2013 at 01:50 PM
And I would like to add, this is not a Phoenixville problem as much as a societal problem.
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Muffins, I think it is more correct to say that if someone is in their own home viewing or retaining child pornography it is an illegal act. The act doesn't become illegal only if they are caught. As to background checks, there are many different methods that can be exploited to gather information about people. The challenge is that to get 'down and dirty' and learn about personal habits is much more expensive. School districts don't spend a lot of money on background checks. They reserve big ticket expenditures for the law suits that result from incidents like this.
Su Gould December 03, 2013 at 02:24 PM
so the school district should perhaps enlist the NSA to look into every employee?
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Su, you are right, it is a societal problem. Folks who commit these crimes are all around us. During several recent global law enforcement initiatives there were many 'decent' folks arrested - including teachers, police and priests - and others who work in positions of trust. To your question about methods - I suspect that annual polygraphs might do the trick although there would be howls from civil libertarians, teacher's unions and those who would have to pay for them. Having worked with experts in that technology, I know they can be very effective when used properly.
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Su, I don't think the NSA will publicly get into the 'for profit' business...and when they do (or when they have) we will not likely know.
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 02:33 PM
My first comment about intervention was not focused on solving the recurring problem of knowing who they hire and what they do in their own homes or on their own time. Like any organization, the school board and the district staff are probably not very well trained in crisis management. Sure, they now have plans for lock-downs, shooter response and such, but what they need is good advice to deal with a corporate crisis, the legal, technical and public relations side of these problems. I hope they have retained a good consultant.
Gil Zimmerman December 03, 2013 at 02:39 PM
And Wendy, to your comment about what they should have done and when, I think the answer that lawyers would give them would be a resounding YES. There should have been a thorough investigation then and all leads should have been pursued. Unfortunately, the police who have the authority to catch criminals are not usually given the mandate to do proactive investigations. This is usually the place for a private investigation agency or a law firm with strong investigative resources, coupled with policy specialists to help the district understand what they might need to do in the event something like this happens again...as it just did. We would all hope they have a plan this time around...but I suspect not.
Muffins December 03, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Gil, I believe the PASD performs their due diligence while processing background checks, and I don't think the PASD is to blame for not catching this guy in the act. As far as 'personal habits,' these offenders, as I said earlier, are very good at appearing normal. Thankfully, no children were hurt or assaulted by this man on school property and, while two arrested offenders were PASD staff, this is unfortunately not an isolated incident across the board. It is a legal problem, and up to the local, state and, where applicable, federal authorities to follow-up.
Su Gould December 03, 2013 at 02:42 PM
It would be quite the negotiation to get the unions to agree to yearly polygraphs! I meant the NSA tactics. I don't see a reasonable answer to knowing what every employee does in his or her private lives until it slips over into their work or public life, unfortunately. Background checks are very prevalent but not the be all, end all answer. Getting mad at the district is pointless. Coming up with solutions is better. My point is that the employer cannot know what is going on in an employees private life without invasive ways and probably unreasonable to most people. Remembering that there are very few bad people and mostly good.
drod December 03, 2013 at 08:21 PM
It was only a matter of time when the public trust issue must be applied to our educators position who receive salaries from tax payer dollars. There must be regulations and rules of conduct that apply to both school time and out of school time conduct if that conduct affects an educators or school administrator's integrity and moral standards expected of people in these positions. A well trained and experienced School Resource Officer's position(s), under the guidance of the top administrators of a school district, should include responsibility of all employees conduct to include outside vendors as well as students. There should be an intelligence system that is maintained thru strict standards and entrusted to top administrators within lawful oversight, as provided in the PA Code of Professional Practice and Conduct of Educators - Chapter 235. There is no secret to proven connections between the administration of a school district and conduct outside of school time. The school district environment transcends into our communities. Teachers are expected to understand the following: • understand the fiduciary nature of their relationship with students; • recognize the appropriate student-teacher boundaries; • internalize the values set forth in the Code of Professional Practice and Conduct; • accept the responsibilities associated with being a role model; • recognize ethical dilemmas; • appreciate the consequences of engaging in misconduct; and • understand the professional educator discipline system. A PUBLIC educators contract beyond the minimum standards of the PA Code should have within strong language of expectations of conduct both during and after school time defining both conduct and penalties. I am very familiar with arbitration of conduct issues. Clear language, training, and defined penalties are an absolute.
Sally Starz December 03, 2013 at 09:29 PM
background checks? since when? A total LOL on that one. Start at the top and work yourself down. You need a few more paddy wagons for what you will find.
harryfinster December 03, 2013 at 11:52 PM
how many child porn cases has great valley had in the last year ?if it is so common elsewhere they should have the same as phoenixville
J.D Malone December 04, 2013 at 09:45 AM
I don't think any law will expose the deep dark secrets that some people have. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try and make things safer and better for our kids and society and remain vigilant. As a baseball coach, basketball coach, cub scout leader and volunteer at PASD schools I am required to have PA State Police criminal record check and an FBI criminal record check. I would assume that teachers are subject to the same, and should be. We then protect the children by practicing 2 deep leadership as much as possible and educating adults and children to recognize and avoid situations where abuse can potentially happen. These safeguards the PASD seems to currently do because we are not having to deal with a teacher that was abusing a PASD student. My heart still aches because somewhere out there, children are still being abused and exploited. That is a global problem. There is no excuse for Hamilton. He's a lost soul and should be punished severely, but my kids have had a great experience in Phoenixville Schools and that's because the majority of teachers are excellent people and fine educators.
Muffins December 04, 2013 at 11:07 AM
While the offenders have been arrested and have been/will be prosecuted, I believe that PASD promptly recognized the situation and will continue to manage it within the scope of the law. JD, Agreed. I had one, and currently have one, child in the PASD and I cannot say enough about the integrity and commitment of the teachers, staff, and administrators to the students and their parents.
harryfinster December 04, 2013 at 10:22 PM
@ muffins i guess if you are on a losing team,you have to pretend it's not a loser
Muffins December 05, 2013 at 10:35 AM
As always, Harry, you have to put people, and their ideals, down to make yourself better. You seriously have some issues. So sad. Have a Merry Christmas, Harry!


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