Danvers, Massachusetts: The Essex County District Attorney's Office credited a hired contractor with blowing a case wide open after he was hired by a building owner to renovate a bathroom after it had sustained water damage.
According to the information released from the DA's office, the contractor had to remove a wall behind the bathtub in a unit in a multi-family home.
"In doing so, the contractor found a hidden room in which multiple boxes full of pornographic images of children were stored," the statement read.
The images were determined to belong to 68-year-old Mark Ternullo as he was found to have "superimposed" himself onto some of the images according to WBZ.
Ternullo lived in the home for about 23 years and after the search warrant was executed, was found to be in possession of nearly 1,000 images "located throughout the apartment, with the majority in the secret room/void and in the bedroom or 'home office'."
Ternullo was arraigned in Salem District Court on Thursday on a single charge of possession of child pornography. The District Attorney requested bail be set at $500,000 cash citing concerns that he could flee while Ternullo's defense attorney, Mark Dewan, requested a bail of $1,000 citing health concerns including bladder cancer and diabetes.
Judge Randy Chapman set Ternullo's bail at $10,000 with the caveat that if he gains release, he be subjected to GPS monitoring and have no contact with children. He must additional stay off of the internet.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker expressed his thoughts on the case this afternoon Tweeting out that, "It's simple: Anyone arrested for having a secret room filled with child pornography should be kept away from the public + kids."
Ternullo is scheduled to be back in court on March 7 for a pre-trial conference.
Some outlets are reporting that Ternullo was a child psychologist, but Mental Therapy lists him as a clinical psychologist. A previous listing for him which was cited by the District Attorney's office at Open Path has since been removed.
Boston.com however, disclosed that Ternullo worked at a number of schools dating back to the early 2000s. Citing Salem News, it went on to say that he had been fired from Methuen's Timothy Grammar School after school officials learned that his school psychologist license had lapsed.