School officials say they were not told why Fort Mill High teacher accused in child porn case was being interviewed

Former Fort Mill High teacher Eric Hartley, accused of child pornography charges, was denied bond by a judge Wednesday and remains in custody.

FORT MILL — When federal investigators came to Fort Mill High School to interview a teacher who became a suspect in an alleged child pornography case, school officials were not informed about the reason for the visit, Fort Mill School District Superintendent Chuck Epps said.

That bit of information was in a second public statement posted to the district’s website since the arrest last week of Eric Hartley, 36, a first-year business teacher, on child pornography charges. The two posts following Hartley’s arrest both stressed the district’s commitment to student safety. Last week, parents of Fort Mill High students also received an email addressing the charges. 

“As we have stated before, the district has not received any information regarding this arrest other than what has been reported by the news and we have not been contacted by law enforcement about these allegations,” Epps said in the statement, later adding, “We are shocked and saddened by these allegations and will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our students.”

According various reports, Hartley is accused of conspiracy to distribute child pornography. His cell phone was reportedly seized by investigators during that interview, according to a story in The (Rock Hill) Herald. That paper also reported that Hartley, now in custody in Charlotte, was denied bond in court Wednesday and his case will be prosecuted in federal court in Virginia. 

Joe Burke, spokesman for the school district, said last week that Hartley resigned Feb. 28, the day he was arrested, and that Hartley had no disciplinary record with the school district in the approximately six months he was employed by the district. Criminal background checks are mandatory for all new hires, Burke said.

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