Team 12 Investigates: Westport man who worked with student program faces child porn charges

News 12 has uncovered documents showing how a Westport man arrested for child pornography was involved in his community and the school system.

News 12 Staff

Sep 16, 2021, 9:28 PM

Updated 1,036 days ago

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News 12 has uncovered documents showing how a Westport man arrested for child pornography was involved in his community and the school system.
Michael Newman, 66, faced a judge in Stamford Superior Court this week. Newman had his wife, Debra, with him during the proceedings.
Police arrested Newman in May on a series of criminal charges, including child pornography and obscenity. According to an arrest warrant obtained by News 12, the investigation into Newman began almost a year ago.
Westport police began investigating on Nov. 23, 2020 when they were assigned to a CyberTip report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
That tip was about an image uploaded to a photo sharing site of a 13- to 14-year-old boy engaging in a sexual activity on a bed. On April 20, Westport police traced the IP address that uploaded the image to Newman.
Police executed a search warrant at Newman's home on Jennie Lane on May 14. Four days later, a detective processed Newman's iPhone, where police said they found a two-and-a-half minute video of minors engaging in sexual contact with one another and other obscene material.
Investigators also located multiple images of child pornography too graphic to describe because of its nature, and 43 files of bestiality.
He was arrested on May 21, 2021 - which is when News 12's investigation started.
According to public records, back in 1997, Newman was appointed as a member of the Youth Commission of the Town of Westport. In 2005, documents obtained by News 12 show Newman began a contract with the Westport Board of Education where he was the peer advisor program director in Staples High School.
It was a program open to 10th and 11th graders where they trained students to become leaders and help their peers when dealing with uncomfortable topics such as substance abuse, bullying and sexuality.
Documents show Newman held that position until 2011 when the program was eliminated as part of a "curriculum decision".
In 2014, Superintendent Elliot Landon sent a letter to Newman that states he was "observed on several occasions" interacting with students at Staples High School after hours "in the same fashion you interacted with students in the discontinued peer advisor program."
The letter goes on to say Newman did not receive approval for the use of Westport schools for private purposes and said if he was seen again in a similar way on school grounds, it would be trespassing.
Newman was also a therapist in town. The state, however, has no record of him ever being licensed.
Team 12 Investigates contacted the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which says it has no documents indicating it licensed Newman as a therapist.
The DPH tells News 12, "No person may provide mental health therapy related services unless they hold an active license in mental health related field."
News 12 reached out to Newman about the allegations against him. His wife and daughter at his home both had no comment.
Newman's attorney tells News 12 this is an unfortunate situation and that Newman is a good guy.
The charges Newman is facing include promoting a minor in an obscene performance, two counts of child pornography and obscenity. That's not all - last month, police arrested Newman again for materials they found in his office in May.


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