Kindergarden Teacher Possessing Nude Pictures of Children

Parent complaint preceded criminal probe of teacher in Jackman

The earlier complaint was investigated by officials and the parent appeared satisfied with the results.

Details are emerging about the career of the kindergarten teacher at Forest Hills Consolidated School who is charged with possessing pornographic photographs of children.


Rob Mocarsky

In the last 19 years, Rob Mocarsky, 41, of Jackman has taught elementary school in rural communities in Maine and New Hampshire, and won a national award for his work in Jackman.

That work was tempered by at least one complaint about his teaching methods, school officials say.

Another complaint led to the felony charges that were filed last week: sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of sexually explicit materials.

Many residents in the Jackman area were shocked to learn of Mocarsky’s arrest Thursday, and the small community now has many questions. Parents are waiting to learn whether their children are in any of the hundreds of pornographic photographs police say they found on Mocarsky’s home computer.

A parent complained about Mocarsky before the criminal investigation began, but the complaint was investigated by school officials and “the parent was satisfied with the results,” said Denise Plante, principal and assistant superintendent. She declined to provide other details.

Plante described the atmosphere in Jackman as “very normal in that there’s a lot more questions than answers, and the fear of the unknown is hard to deal with.”

The criminal investigation of Mocarsky began after a mother reported that he had a student dress in a French maid’s costume, when no other students were around, and photographed her.

On Dec. 8, the mother told school officials, who interviewed Mocarsky that day, put him on paid leave and notified police.

Maine State Police later found photographs of girls in costumes from several years of Mocarsky’s teaching, Assistant District Attorney Brent Davis said at a court hearing Friday.

Police continue to investigate whether any Jackman students were in the pornographic photographs, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Mocarsky began teaching in 1991 at the 50-student Stockholm Elementary School in Aroostook County, said Superintendent John Hedman. That school closed in 2004, he said.

Although Hedman was not superintendent when Mocarsky worked there, he examined Mocarsky’s personnel file. “All I can do is report on what I see, and there’s nothing there that indicates any complaints of any kind,” he said.

Mocarsky resigned in 1993 to take a teaching job on Little Cranberry Island, where he taught about 10 students at the Islesford School.

Although the practice has since changed, teachers’ jobs there lasted just two years. The residents of Cranberry Isles “didn’t want their kids influenced by one individual for more than a two-year period,” said Superintendent Rob Liebow.

Mocarsky likely would have stayed on the island, but he left in 1995, at the end of his contract, Liebow said.

Mocarsky then taught elementary students at Grantham Village School in Grantham, N.H. He resigned in 2001, said the superintendent there, Keith Pfeifer.

Mocarsky began working for Jackman’s School Administrative District 12 in 2002.

John Davis, who became superintendent this summer, said that although some parents said negative things about Mocarsky in the past, there was never a complaint as severe as the one brought Dec. 8.

“There was never a substantial criminal question,” he said.

If any action is taken against a teacher’s certification, the Maine Department of Education cannot release the information to the public for confidentiality reasons, said spokesman David Connerty-Marin.

It was evident Thursday at a community meeting, where police and school officials explained Mocarsky’s arrest, that people were shocked by the news, Davis said.

Parents said: “‘This is my child’s hero; this is my child’s favorite teacher,’ ” he said. “This is a well-thought-of, well-regarded, nationally recognized teacher.”

Mocarsky received the national Milken Family Foundation Award in 2004, which came with $25,000. The award is given annually to outstanding teachers, and Mocarsky received it, in part, for his “Pretend Play” program.

Pretend Play involves students dressing for or acting out roles, Plante said.

For example, students once took a field trip to a post office to learn what happens behind the scenes. Then they set up their own post office in the classroom. Students could wear post office uniforms, carry mail sacks and deliver mail.

Alan Duplessis, owner of the Four Seasons Restaurant in Jackman, said many people liked Mocarsky’s style of teaching. Those people are now questioning their judgment.

“I’m sure that anybody that had contact with him is wondering, ‘Did I miss something?'” he said.

Erin Rhoda/ Portland Press Herald