Education

Bernards School Network Administrator Suspended After Child Porn Charge Filed Against Him [Update]

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Credits: Photo provided by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office
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BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A network administrator for the Bernards Township Board of Education, Brian Nielsen, was arrested at his home on Thursday, and faces a charge of possession of child pornography, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced in a news release dated Sept. 28.

Nielsen, 55, of Woodbridge has been charged with possession of child pornography in the third degree, Carey said in the news release. Nielsen has been employed by the Bernards Township Board of Education for more than 10 years, the release said.

'Immediately' suspended from job with Bernards Schools

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[Update] Also as of Thursday, Nielsen "was​ ​immediately​ ​suspended​ ​pending​ ​the​ ​outcome​ ​of​ ​his​ ​criminal​ ​case,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​is​ ​not​ ​permitted​ ​on​ ​district​ ​property or​ ​to​ ​have​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​students​ ​or​ ​staff," Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian said in a special email sent to parents on Thursday night.

"While​ ​he​ [Nielsen] ​is​ ​considered​ ​innocent​ ​until​ ​proven​ ​guilty,​ ​student​ ​safety​ ​is​ ​always​ ​paramount​ ​in​ ​our​ ​district," Markarian noted in the email. ​​

No indication of student involvement

Markarian assured parents, "We​ ​have​ ​been​ ​advised​ ​that​ ​the​ ​investigation​ ​is​ ​specific​ ​to​ ​Mr.​ ​Nielsen​ ​only,​ ​and that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​no​ ​indication​ ​of​ ​any​ ​student​ ​involvement​ ​at​ ​this​ ​time." 

Worked at Board of Education office 

In a further email responding to a question from TAP Into Basking Ridge, Markarian said on Friday morning that, "Mr. Nielsen was stationed here at the BOE office. He had little to no interaction with students."

Nielsen was arrested at his home after a search warrant was executed at his residence, according to the Middlesex County prosecutor's office. The investigation was led by Detectives Erik Larsen and Detective Joseph Chesseri, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and assisted by the FBI and the Woodbridge Police Department, authorities said.

The investigation leading to the arrest reportedly began after information was provided from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), according to the news release.

Nielsen currently is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending his initial court appearance, according to the release. 

The investigation is active and is continuing, the prosecutor's office said. Anyone with information possibly related to the case is asked to call Detective Larsen at (732) 745- 3263 or Detective Chesseri at (732) 745-3287 of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the release said.

Markarian ended his email by concluding,  "The​ ​district​ ​is​ ​fully​ ​cooperating​ ​with​ ​our​ ​local​ ​police​ ​department​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Middlesex​ ​County​ ​Prosecutor’s​ ​Office​ ​to ensure​ ​that​ ​our​ ​students​ ​are​ ​kept​ ​safe."

The release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office added the disclaimer that the charges against Nielsen are accusations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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