Armed with new search warrants, federal agents seized a camera, two wristwatches, travel documents, and other items from the home of a former physician at a boarding school in Andover, according to documents filed in court Thursday.
The searches in January appear to be part of an effort by prosecutors to show that Dr. Richard Keller may have created pornographic images, not just bought them in vast quantities, as he is already charged with doing.
One of the seized watches, described as a silver Eterna, is significant because one video seized from his home last year shows families at a “naturalist” beach resort in Agde, France, in August 1996, and the footage occasionally includes glimpses of the cameraman’s wrist, wearing a silver watch. The documents did not describe the second watch.
Federal agents already had evidence that the 56-year-old physician, then a medical director at Phillips Academy in Andover, traveled to France in summer 1996. The documents do not indicate if either of the seized watches match the image from the film.
These latest disclosures show that the investigation of Keller is far from over and that new charges may be filed. His alleged double life was first exposed in mid-September when he was arrested after investigators found some 500 sexually explicit photographs of minors, primarily featuring boys, and at least 60 DVDs at his home. They searched Keller’s home after his name and address had come up in a customer database of a foreign company that produced child pornography. Some videos were sent to the student health center at Phillips Academy, as well as his home address.
At the time of his arrest, Keller left Phillips, where he had faced several disciplinary actions, including for downloading adult pornography on a school computer. He was working as a part-time endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and lived in Andover with a woman who taught at Phillips Academy; the couple had a son in the past couple of years.
Keller, who is being held without bail, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Max Stern, Keller’s defense attorney, said Thursday that he had not yet seen the new filing in court, and had no comment on it.
According to the inventory of items seized during the two most recent searches of his Andover home, both this past January, agents also took a 35mm camera, an external hard drive, and some video tapes. They also took boxes of journals, maps, credit card records, passport documents, check registers, as well as more than 30 additional boxes of child pornography.
Agents also seized a plastic bag containing a blue bathing suit and blue shorts, though the documents do not indicate the significance of these clothing items. The search warrant states that authorities were looking for “all men’s blue patterned shorts and bathing suits.”
Federal agents had also been looking for video-making equipment, however they apparently did not find those items at the home.
As part of the investigation, federal agents are also looking to identify and interview children with whom Keller had contact, as well as children who appear in the pornographic films. Michelle Collins, an official with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said typically makers of child pornography are people “who had legitimate access to the child,” such as family members or other authority figures.
The head of Phillips Academy, in a release issued shortly after Keller’s arrest, said school officials had “no reason to believe that any of our students were involved in, or affected by, Dr. Keller’s alleged criminal behavior.”
The same statement showed that Keller’s 19-year tenure at the school included at least several instances of questionable behavior, including showing an “inappropriate cartoon to students” and “poor management and poor judgment.”
Federal investigators are exploring Keller’s contact with children in all his jobs, including at two summer camps where he worked as a physician.Patricia Wen can be reached at email@example.com.