SEEKONK - A former Seekonk High School principal has been charged with possession of child pornography after authorities say they found thousands of sexually explicit images of children - some of them he allegedly viewed while still the school principal.
Russell Goyette, 61, principal from 1992 to 2001, was ordered held in jail on $10,000 cash bail after pleading innocent Thursday in Dedham Superior Court to 16 counts of possession of child pornography.
Goyette was also set to become a swimming instructor at an unnamed summer camp in Foxboro for children ages 5 to pre-teens but a court order by Judge Janet Sanders will prevent him from taking the job.
At the request of prosecutors, Goyette was ordered to have no contact or employment with children, to stay away from parks and playgrounds and have no access to computers or the Internet should he post his bail.
Officials at the Hockomock YMCA in Foxboro and the Normandy Farms campground said they have no record of Goyette.
His lawyer, Bruce Watson, could not be reached by The Sun Chronicle. But in court, Watson defended his client and questioned the evidence authorities say they obtained. Watson said Goyette had left the computer at an ex-girlfriend's home.
"These are very disturbing allegations, but that is what they are - they are allegations by an ex-girlfriend," Watson said in court.
He said Goyette has been a teacher and administrator in Massachusetts public schools for more than 30 years. He was married for 37 years and has two children and four grandchildren.
But while his lawyer portrayed Goyette as a dedicated educator and family man, prosecutors from Attorney General Martha Coakley's office described someone far more sinister.
A search of Goyette's personal computer revealed more than 4,500 images of children engaged in sex acts with adults and other children, Assistant Attorney General Anne Yas said in court.
Yas said that Goyette had been viewing the images on his personal computer as early as 1999, while he was still at Seekonk High.
She called the possession of child porn a "sexual fetish" and said the images were "graphic and very disturbing."
Yas, a prosecutor for the AG's cybercrime division, said a former girlfriend of Goyette reported finding the images on a personal computer she said he left behind when he moved out last year.
A former Dedham resident, Goyette now lives at 514 Hilltop Drive in Walpole, where he was arrested without incident by state police.
He appeared in court looking haggered with scraggly, long gray hair over his shoulders. He wore hiking boots, shorts and a green sweatshirt.
In a 2001 school reorganization, Goyette went from being high school principal to vice principal of Seekonk Middle School. He left to become Hull High School principal in 2002, where he served until retiring in December 2004.
Harry Pierre, an attorney general's spokesman, said Weymouth police received a tip more than a year ago that Goyette - who lived in that town at the time - might have had child pornography on his home computer.
Weymouth police obtained a search warrant in June 2007 to conduct a forensic examination of the computer and several compact discs. The case was referred to the attorney general's office in February, Pierre said.
Goyette was being held at Dedham House of Correction and is due back in court July 8 for a pretrial conference.