Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, announced on Tuesday the arrest of Richard Conti, age 69, of 61 Norfolk Road, Warwick, for possession of child pornography.
Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force members recently initiated an investigation regarding an individual allegedly using the internet connection at 61 Norfolk Road, Warwick, to access child pornography. On Tuesday, ICAC Task Force members executed a search warrant at that address and identified Mr. Conti as the alleged owner of digital media used to possess the child pornography.
Conti was arrested and charged with one count of possession of child pornography. He was arraigned this morning in Third Division District Court, where bail was set at $2,500 with surety with the special conditions of no contact with minors and limited internet use.
Conti is currently employed as a fifth-grade teacher at the Contrell F. Hoxsie Elementary School in Warwick, where he has worked for the past 21 years. He also is the assistant coach of the varsity girls’ softball team at Pilgrim High School in Warwick. Mr. Conti is also an umpire for local sports.
The Warwick School Department sent out a press release shortly after the announcement was made indicating that Conti had been suspended with pay pending an investigation, and that they would not comment further as the issue is a personnel matter.
"At this point in time, Mr. Conti has been suspended pending an investigation and has no contact with students in the Warwick School Department," the release signed by superintendent Philip Thornton reads. "There will be employee and student assistance for anyone who may need support, tomorrow at Hoxsie School."
A person found guilty of Possession of Child Pornography may be subject to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisoned not more than five (5) years, or both.
The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force actively engages in investigative efforts to identify subjects involved in child exploitation-related activities. The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force Program is administered by the Rhode Island State Police and supports a national network of multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task forces engaged in investigations, forensic examinations, and prosecutions related to Internet crimes against children and technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation.
The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force is comprised of members of the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit along with detectives from the Warwick Police Department, Cranston Police Department, Newport Police Department, East Providence Police Department, Pawtucket Police Department, Bristol Police Department, North Kingstown Police Department, Woonsocket Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
(With reports from Ethan Hartley)