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Warwick teacher arrested on child pornography charges
Thomas L. Hewes

A Cranston resident who teaches social studies at Gorton Junior High School in Warwick is facing child pornography charges after allegedly posing as a teenage girl online to solicit sexual images from underage boys.

Thomas L. Hewes, 52, of 64 Verdant Drive in Cranston, was arrested Friday and charged with indecent solicitation of a child, transfer of child pornography and possession of child pornography, according to Rhode Island State Police. He was arraigned in Third Division District Court and released on $10,000 personal recognizance under the conditions he not use the Internet and have no contact with children.

Warwick Superintendent Dr. Richard D’Agostino issued a statement on the matter Friday.

“The Warwick Public Schools has been advised by the Rhode Island State Police that Thomas Hewes, a teacher at Gorton Jr. High School, has been arrested by the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and has been charged with alleged crimes. The teacher was not in school today and has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” the statement reads.

“If there are further developments, we will share them with the community. A Connect Ed call has been sent to the Gorton parents/staff and as far as we know no Warwick students are involved.”

Police said an investigation was initiated when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline reported that a user on the website Meetme.com – identified in that user’s profile as a 16-year-old girl – was asking underage boys using the site for the explicit photos. That tip led to the State Police Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force being issued a search warrant for Hewes’ home in Cranston.

The search resulted in the seizing of “digital media including two computers, an iPhone, an iPad and 24 USB flash drives,” according to police, with the flash drives hidden in a basement drop ceiling.

“A forensic preview of the digital media identified images and videos of alleged child pornography,” according to police.

Police said the investigation is ongoing “and will include a full forensic examination of the seized digital media.” No local victims have been identified at this point.

14 comments on this item

"Pending the outcome of the investigation" makes me cringe. Sure as $hit, there will be plenty of demented freaks (Including his judge, lawyer, and union thugs) in this state who think he is deserving of a second chance...........

If this teacher is found guilty, I think both he and the community would be better served if they also got him the psychiatric help he needs. If you do the crime, you do the time, but we're not talking about your average criminal here. Don't put him back on the streets until you can fix his head.

There isn't a cure for pedophiles. NONE of them should ever be allowed back on the streets again!

Jenn you are right, there is NO cure for the crime he committed. However, to use language such as freaks and depicting union members as "thugs" shows how little you know about the situation. Can you point to one instance where the union has backed this man? They cannot immediately terminate him due to a contractual agreement, it has NOTHING to do with whether or not they believe him. To fire him immediately leaves the district open to a lawsuit, and judging by your tone, you're the same type of person that would blast the city for tying money up in foolish litigation. What this man did was DISGRACEFUL, and it should be treated that way. To start citing the unions, lawyers and the judge as freaks is a TERRIBLE way to keep the focus on the actual crime. This man should never teach again, but until he is tried in court, there is very little the district can do to terminate him. The Superintendent is the only person quoted in this article (he has ZERO to do with the union, lawyer or judge) and even he knows that no matter how damning the evidence is, he still must be tried in court. The Boston Marathon bomber is seen on video tape planting a back-pack right next to where the explosions happened....and even he (as guilty as he clearly is) will have his day in court. Using language like you did does NOTHING to further the conversation and actually it does nothing except MISINFORM people of what actually is going on. Everyone has a right to comment on here, but it would be nice if you could use facts and not let your CLEARLY POLITICAL union bashing rhetoric flood this page!

Didn't read. Too many CAPS. (a.k.a. shouting)

Yes, this pedophile should be fired immediately! Sickening! People are assuming the unions will back this jerk --because when a teacher at Vets was arrested for having inappropriate relations with a student --he was not fired but transferred to another school. Crazy!

The caps were meant as an emphasis, not to be taken as shouting. Nothing I said in there was disrespectful or untrue. I agree reassigning a teacher should not be an option for crimes like this. Get him help and remove him asap

Scall, funny how she didn't mention anything about firing the man. You seem to have let your feelings get in the away of what she actually said. Knowing her on Facebook, she just thinks that the man shouldn't be payed during the investigation, which she felt was implied as the author of this article just said "suspended", not suspended without pay. Nonetheless, all she mentioned in her comments on here was that she thinks pedophiles shouldn't be released from prison as well as her opinion of how stupid and unjustly forgiving some people in this state are.

No she actually said "sure as s*it there will be plenty of demented freaks (the judge, lawyer, and union thugs) who think he is deserving of a second chance." I was just wondering where that came from? I have not heard one person say he should be paid while suspended so it's kind of an obvious point to make. Whether he's suspended without pay or not isn't up to anyone...it's whatever is in the contract.

Dose anyone really know mr. Hewes? It's easy to trash him, but did he bring any goodness to anyone's life????

Another whacko

Unfortunately, this is not the first time for Gorton for whatever reason. Recall the case from about 20 years ago (Salvatore?..something like that). The teacher molested a slew of kids.

Earlier this week a science teacher from Gorton was arrested on first and second degree sexual assault charges of a 15-year old girl to whom he is related. Two years ago, a Vets teacher was dating one of his students. We now have another Gorton teacher posing as a teenage girl online to solicit sexual images from underage boys. All the while, the school committee continues to hide under it's collective desk on the issue of school consolidation as enrollment continues to understandably plummet. And as the school department moves ever closer to resembling the bar scene from "Star Wars", the interim superintendent (try to keep a straight face) honestly believes he deserves the job permanently. If children weren't involved, this would all make for raucous comedy. Rather, it's an infuriatingly broad and complete abdication of professional accountability. All at taxpayer expense.

And last night on the evening news a parent came forward with an email that she sent to D'Agostino about this teacher. Remember, he does not respond to emails nor return phone calls. If he read this email, maybe something could have been done - check his email history. The school committee might be surprised at how many he actually reads and then that he never responds.

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