Teacher and volunteer coach arrested on child pornography charges

Andrew Eberhart, 23, of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. [Image credit: Lebanon County District Attorney's office]

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Manheim Township Police Department received a tip in the fall of 2019 concerning an Instagram account that was soliciting images from underage boys. According to Lebanon Daily News, the tip came from a mother who told police that her 13-year-old son had been solicited for explicit photos.

 

The Instagram account, which posed as a young woman, was traced and on January 22nd, a search warrant was served at the residence of 23-year-old Andrew Eberhart.

 

A forensic search of his devices revealed child pornography that he had solicited from underage boys through two different Instagram accounts since 2017.

 

Eberhart is reported to have told police that a number of the young boys he communicated with were from the Cornwall-Lebanon School District where he volunteered as a basketball coach.

 

Children contacted by the accounts are reported to have been between the ages of 12 and 16, and described the account as "relentless" in trying to get images from them.  They also reported to police that the account would send them images of naked women in an attempt to get a response.

 

On March 2, Eberhart was arrested and charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse of children, one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one misdemeanor count of corruption of minors.

 

During the time of the offenses he was also employed as a special education teacher within the Palmyra Area School District.  At the time of his arrest, the school district issued a statement saying that he had been placed on administrative leave, but WGAL is reporting that he has been terminated from his teaching position. His page though, remains active on the district website at the time of this posting.

 

The school disctrict's statement issued by Dr. Bernie Kepler, the superintendent of the Palmyra Area School District stated in part:

"The Palmyra Area School District conducts thorough background checks on all employees; including Pennsylvania State Police Clearance, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance and an FBI Federal Criminal History Clearance. Individuals, at the time of potential hire, who have violations that preclude them from employment are not considered as candidates. Mr. Eberhart, at the time of hire, had clearances that made him eligible for employment."

“Solicitors and possessors of child pornography prey upon the innocence of our children. These individuals victimize very young children for their own devices. I take the protection of our children and our community seriously, and we will prosecute this case vigorously,” District Attorney Hess Graf said.

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