Special education paraprofessional charged with possession of child pornography

Shawn McNair, of Blue Springs, Missouri. [Photo credit: Jackson County Detention Center]

30 year old Shawn McNair has been arrested by Jackson County Sheriffs Officers at his home in Lake Tapawingo, Missouri on Tuesday afternoon.


According to Jackson County's Examiner, court documents indicate that a tip was received by authorities in June 2018 that McNair had downloaded an image of child pornography.


The following month investigators met with McNair and interviewed him.  During that interview he allegedly told officers that he had been sent some inappropriate images but did not actively seek them out or distribute them because he is "against that."


Police then obtained a search warrant for his electronic devices.


McNair is said to have told investigators during an interview that he had been investigated by the Blue Springs Freshman Center during the 2016-2017 school year concerning accusations that he was taking images of female students.  He alleged that he had been cleared but was no longer allowed to work at the school.


McNair also told investigators that he had never touched a child but  “admitted to speaking with children online because some had been abused and needed help,” and “explained some of the conversations were explicit and that he had exchanged nude pictures in the conversations.”


A former employee of Grain Valley School District where he worked as a substitute teacher between August 2016 and September 2018, McNair had passed the necessary screening at the time of his employment.  During his time with Grain Valley he is said to have worked at the lower, middle, and high school levels as well as serving at times as a paraprofessional with special education students.


Grain Valley Superintendent Dr. Brad Welle disclosed in a statement released online that "A fingerprint background check in 2016 had cleared him to serve as a substitute in Missouri’s schools. In September of 2018, he reported that he had full time employment and was no longer going to serve as a sub for us."


While it is not clear where McNair was currently employed or in what capacity, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a statement as well concerning the charges making it appear he is still working with children.


"The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is aware of today’s news related to Mr. McNair. As we do any time a certificated teacher is facing criminal charges, DESE will follow this case in the court system. Once those proceedings are finalized, DESE can determine our next steps."


Investigators discovered 31 pictures and 293 videos of suspected child pornography on his electronic devices which depicted females estimated to be between the ages of 7 and 11 years old.


McNair was charged with five counts of possession of child pornography and booked into the Jackson County Detention Center.  His bond was set at $5,000 or 10% secured which he quickly posted.  The additional terms of his release are that he have no contact with either victims or witnesses, have no contact with anyone under the age of 17 and stay away from schools and Boys and Girls Clubs.


He is due back in court for his arraignment at 11 am on February 11th.