Anxiety high as Venable teacher faces child porn, solicitation charges

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Venable Elementary School fourth grade teacher Corey Schock has been arrested on child pornography charges. Photo: Charlottesville Public Schools Venable Elementary School fourth grade teacher Corey Schock has been arrested on child pornography charges. Photo: Charlottesville Public Schools

One week after federal agents raided the home of beloved Venable Elementary School teacher Corey Schock and arrested him on child pornography charges, a permanent substitute teacher has been hired for his fourth grade class as parents are struggling to understand the extent and nature of his alleged crimes.

Schock, 43, who at press time was being held without bond at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, is charged with three felonies: two counts of possessing child pornography and one count of use of a communications system to facilitate a criminal offense involving a minor.

According to a report by Newsplex, during Schock’s initial appearance in Charlottesville Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on February 11, prosecutors said Shock’s engagement with child pornography was part of an ongoing pattern rather than an isolated incident. His arrest resulted from a Northern Virginia-based investigation. Authorities have not revealed the ages or genders of the children involved.

Neither Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania nor Schock’s attorney Lloyd Snook had returned C-VILLE’s calls by press time.

The case has touched such a nerve that multiple parents with children who were taught by Schock declined comment on the charges, citing the stress and trauma of the situation and the difficulty of explaining the nature of his alleged offenses to young children.

“It forces you to explain things to kids that they are simply not capable of assimilating,” said one mother, who requested anonymity.

The fear such charges instill in a parent runs deep, said forensic psychiatrist Andy Thomson, and the questions they raise are unsettling.

“Is part of why he’s a teacher that he then has a classroom of children who are titillating to him?” Thomson said parents might wonder. “You’d worry that your child has been the object of his erotic designs.”

In a meeting for Venable families held at the school the day after Schock’s February 10 arrest, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo, Venable Principal Erin Kershner, and Charlottesville Schools superintendent Rosa Atkins answered questions  and assured parents in attendance that there was no indication that any Venable students were involved.

“There were a lot of questions, mainly about what to say to the kids, and some people are just sad,” said Charlottesville School Board Vice Chair Amy Laufer, noting that parents’ sympathy also ran to Schock’s wife and two children. Grief was apparent.

“There were some people that were really sad and crying. They felt like they knew him, and they couldn’t believe this had happened,” she said.

In the days since his arrest and that initial meeting, the school community has pulled together, said Principal Kershner.

“I’ve received positive feedback from parents about the timing and method of our communications and our general handling of the situation,” she said. “In turn, I appreciate parents’ support. The Venable community is very strong and nurturing.”

A school counselor and a representative from the Foothills Child Advocacy Center were expected at the Venable PTO meeting on Tuesday, February 18, and the long-term substitute for Schock’s class, former Johnson Elementary School teacher Megan Greenwood, is scheduled to take over teaching duties on Monday, February 24.

Schock is not the first Charlottesville school employee to be charged with a sexual crime relating to a minor. In 2007, music teacher Jonathan Spivey* pleaded guilty in Charlottesville Circuit Court to one count of custodial indecent liberties, and he entered Alford pleas on three other counts stemming from sexual contact with students at Charlottesville High School. And in September 2013, former Charlottesville City Schools bus driver Darrell Eugene Farley pleaded guilty in Rockingham Circuit Court to indecent liberties with a minor and solicitation of a minor. Prosecutors dropped five other solicitation charges. Farley received a 30-year sentence with all but eight years suspended, according to court records.

Schock, who has been placed on paid administrative leave, was next scheduled to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for a bond hearing on February 19, after this paper went to press. His preliminary hearing is set for March 28. If convicted on the current charges, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

*An earlier version of this story got Mr. Spivey’s first name wrong.

Former dean seeks deal

The educator at the center of another high-profile local child pornography case may be working on a plea deal with prosecutors.

Michael G. Morris, a former associate dean at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce whose indictment last fall for child porn distribution made international headlines, successfully petitioned a federal judge to push his trial date from January 22 to April 21, saying in a motion filed by prominent Charlottesville defense attorney David L. Heilberg that his counsel “is currently engaged in negotiations with the government that are likely to resolve the case without the need for a jury trial.”

Morris, a 50-year-old Crozet resident and information technology expert, pleaded not guilty to two counts of distributing or receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child porn involving a minor under 12.

According to court records, the FBI alleged that he had used a file-sharing site to view explicit images and videos of children 192 times over the course of 10 months. Undercover investigators used the peer-to-peer site to download multiple videos depicting sex acts between men and prepubescent girls directly from Morris’ IP address, the records say.

A UVA spokesman said Morris, who was suspended after his arrest, resigned from the University January 10.—Graelyn Brashear

  • RandomThoughts

    It is long overdue to empty the prisons of non violent offenders, those caged for victim-less crimes to make room for the vile and violent predators .

    Catch and release does not work for these animals .

  • Duganfry

    This is definitely shocking (no pun intended). It’s obvious that pedophiles seem to congregate in professions where children are accessible. It amazes me how these people can take such a direction that permanently jeopardizes their career.

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