By Shelley Grieshop
A retired superintendent of New Bremen Local Schools and the former Mendon-Union Local School pleaded guilty this week to pandering child pornography across the Internet.
Roger J. "R. Jay" Stauffer, 66, of 13 Canterbury Drive, New Bremen, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court to attempted pandering of obscenity involving a minor and pandering obscenity involving a minor, third- and fourth-degree felonies.
The charges stem from an incident in 2004 when Stauffer sent pornographic images of a minor or minors from his home computer over the Internet to Danish National Police in Denmark, who were conducting a "sting operation."
The lengthy investigation also involved the U.S. Department of Customs and Immigration, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) and the New Bremen Police Department.
Stauffer, who spent his entire career as an educator, waived his right to have the case brought before a grand jury for a possible indictment. Instead, he offered to plead guilty to both charges. He faces a maximum 61Ú2 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted and could be labeled a sexual predator. He remains out of jail on his own recognizance until sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set. He is being represented in the case by Andrew King of Lima.
Stauffer did not return a call left at his home this morning. New Bremen Police Chief Doug Harrod declined to comment when contacted this morning about the incident.
According to reports obtained by The Daily Standard from the local and international agencies, Stauffer responded to a request in a chat room and uploaded child pornography images to the Danish National Police from his personal computer in late 2004. The federal customs and immigration agency contacted the New Bremen Police Department about the incident in late August 2005.
The local police department immediately obtained a search warrant for Stauffer's home and seized his computer, which was later analyzed by BCI&I investigators. BCI&I officials in London confirmed the presence of the child pornography on the computer, the report said. The information then was passed on to the Auglaize County Prosecutor's Office for review.
Records from several area schools show Stauffer attended New Knoxville Local Schools but graduated in 1957 from Lima Shawnee High School. He received a liberal arts degree in science and speech from Ohio Northern in 1961 and taught at the former Mendon-Union High School from 1962-1965. He was superintendent of the school from 1966-1969.
Stauffer left his post at the Mendon district in 1969 to become superintendent of the New Bremen school district and held that position for 21 years. Following his retirement from that post in 1990, he intermittently taught at Lehman High School, Sidney, but hasn't taught there for two years, officials there confirmed this morning.