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Fifth-grade teacher charged in child pornography case

A fifth-grade teacher in Cambridge who is facing a charge of transportation of child pornography admitted to secretly videotaping children changing in and out of their clothes on more than one occasion, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Josh A. Wairi, 27, of Somerville was charged today in federal court in Boston in a criminal complaint filed by a US postal inspector.

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In the affidavit, the inspector detailed a hunt for Wairi through cyberspace, kicked off by tips from America Online and Dropbox Inc.

The search eventually led to Wairi’s Somerville apartment, where law enforcement officials executed a search warrant today, the affidavit said.

The officials forced entry when no one answered knocks and calls at the door, but found Wairi there.

After being advised of his Miranda rights, Wairi allegedly made numerous admissions, including that he used e-mail to “trade and receive images of child pornography,” the affidavit said.

“Wairi estimated that he possessed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography,” the affidavit said.

“During the course of the interview,” the affidavit said, “Wairi admitted to secretly videotaping and using a camera cell phone to videotape children changing in and out of clothes on more than one occasion. He also admitted to setting up and hiding a video camera in a locker room in order to videotape children changing in and out of clothes.”

The affidavit did not say where the videotaping allegedly took place.

Wairi also allegedly said he had posted a Craigslist ad, offering his babysitting services. The affidavit did not say if anyone had ever hired him.

A review of a thumb drive found in the apartment uncovered sexually explicit images involving children, the affidavit said.

The affidavit also noted that a friend of Wairi’s, who was interviewed during the investigation, told investigators there was a day care center on the first floor of Wairi’s Beacon Street apartment building.

At a news conference this evening, Cambridge School Superintendent Jeffrey Young said he felt “deeply disturbed” after hearing about the case for the first time around 3 p.m. today in a call from the US attorney’s office.

Wairi, who taught at the Graham & Parks School, was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, Young said.

“There’s been a betrayal here and we apologize for that,” he said.

He said two community meetings would be held, one next week even though it is a school vacation week, and another the week after, to help people cope with their feelings and questions.

He said he did not have information about whether Wairi might have done anything wrong at a school.

“We will be and already are coping fully with the US attorney as well as any other law enforcement agencies that might become involved,” said Young, who said he had met Wairi but did not know him.

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