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Wellesley High track coach arrested on child porn charge

A Wellesley High School track coach was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography Thursday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Walter Johnson, 69, 0f Framingham,was charged with one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, prosecutors said in a statement.

He was detained after his arraignment in US District Court in Boston.

In a statement, Wellesley School Superintendent David F. Lussier said Johnson was “immediately terminated,” from his duties as an assistant coach for indoor and outdoor track teams and as the head girls’ cross country coach.

From 2008 to 2015, Johnson was a special education teaching assistant at Wellesley Middle School, Lussier said.

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“Naturally, this is disturbing information for our community and we know there will be many questions,” he said.

School and town officials are working with the US Attorney’s office on the matter, the Wellesley statement said.

“Because this is still an active investigation, we have limited information to share at this time, but we will keep the community apprised of new developments,” Lussier said.

Johnson is also a former Harvard University track coach, according to the US Attorney’s office.

A Harvard spokeswoman said Thursday night that Johnson was employed as an assistant track coach from 1982 to 2006.

A federal investigation into child pornography being traded online by a Craigslist user that started in January led authorities to Johnson, according to prosecutors.

A search warrant was executed Thursday morning at his Framingham home.

“Johnson allegedly admitted to sending and receiving child pornography with various individuals he met on Craigslist,” prosecutors said.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in court on May 1 for a detention and probably cause hearing.

According to an affidavit in the case, Johnson had sexually explicit chats about children with another Craigslist user and also traded images of youths being exploited. At one point, Johnson wrote to a Craigslist user that he never had kids but became aroused while looking at “young neighbor and younger cousin.”

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Investigators learned that Johnson, who attended Harvard as an undergrad, currently lives with a girlfriend who teaches third grade in the Framingham Public Schools, the affidavit said. The filing did not identify the woman.

Authorities are urging anyone with information regarding this case to call 617-748-3274.


Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed. Jacob Geanous can be reached at jacob.geanous@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jacob_geanous.