Former Manheim Township SD guidance counselor pleads guilty in child porn case

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A former Manheim Township School District guidance counselor pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. Richard Dean Russell, 52, of New Holland, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Russell was placed on administrative leave in October of 2012, when he informed the school he was under investigation by the US Postal Service for “ordered something he should not have ordered.”

Russell worked as a counselor at Landis Run Intermediate School.

The School District issued the following statement today on their website:

Yesterday we learned that a former guidance counselor, Mr. Rich Russell, plead guilty to having images of child pornography on his home computer.

Our first concern is for our children.  We have no reason to believe that Mr. Russell in any way was inappropriate with any student.  In light of this latest development though, we ask any parent who has questions or concerns to contact Dr. Setlock, Director of Pupil Services, at 560-3089.   We will be setting up a parent meeting in the near future to provide parents with communication tips on how to speak with their child(ren) regarding personal safety.

As background, in October of 2012 Mr. Russell notified the district that he was part of an investigation by the US Postal Service.  He did not give details of that investigation except to say he had ordered something he should not have ordered.  He was put on immediate administrative leave, and approximately two weeks later resigned from the district.

The day Mr. Russell was put on administrative leave, under the advice of legal counsel, the school district conducted an internal investigation including a search of Mr. Russell’s office, files and computer but found nothing of an inappropriate nature.

The district has never been contacted by any agency, federal or local, or any law enforcement in connection with any investigation of Mr. Russell.  We read in the newspaper last week that he was charged with one count of child pornography.  We saw a news article last night that Mr. Russell admitted having images of child pornography on his home computer.

We will post the parent meeting information on our website, Facebook and our Twitter account once arrangements have been made for the meeting.

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