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Former Seattle teacher facing child porn charges to be released from custody

Gabe Cronin is accused of having thousands of images in his possession after a family member tipped police about the alleged activity on November 12. (Photo: KOMO News file)

SEATTLE - A former chemistry teacher at the prestigious Seattle Academy who is facing child pornography charges, could released from custody as soon as Wednesday.

Gabe Cronin is accused of having thousands of images in his possession after a family member tipped police about the alleged activity on November 12.

Seattle Academy, a tight knit family of its own, said because Cronin was so well regarded, it deepens their 'shock and distress'.

News of Tuesday's court proceedings triggered a statement from the district.

"We want parents and students to feel that Seattle Academy is a safe place," Head of School Joe Puggelli said in the statement. "The safety and well-being of our students is our number-one priority."

A KOMO News report from March 10 shows a beaming Cronin, then the former faculty leader of the school's robotics program, as he was leading a group of Robotics Club students who had designed and built a robot to enter into a competition.

"It is hard to explain how proud we are," said Cronin during that interview.

Now the former teacher has gone from the classroom to a federal courtroom.

Cronin is currently unemployed. He was fired last week by the Academy and as of this remained in federal custody Tuesday.

He is charged with one count of possession of child pornography.

The criminal complaint against him revealed the once standout teacher insisted that despite his self-described 'sexual addiction', he hadn't ever inappropriately touched children.

He offered to take a lie detector test, insisting it would prove he is being truthful.

When asked how he dealt with urges being at school all day or on overseas school trips, court documents reveal he told investigators most of the trips were short and he could handle it. But, he had difficulty on the school trip to Zambia.

In those same court documents, Cronin told a detective that he had added student photos to porn images.

A detective wrote, "He told us he fantasized about students he works with. Detective Luckie asked if he had ever 'morphed' any photographs of students with images of pornography, and he said that he had done that in the past."

Detectives found several photo galleries on his work-issued laptop containing nude images of minor female children.

And other images according to the complaint:"...detectives located thousands of non-nude images of girls appearing to be between eight and fifteen years of age, in various stages of undress, and posing in various sexually explicit positions..."

A Seattle Academy statement released last week at the time of Cronin's arrest, read, "Until we received this news, we had no reason for concern about Mr. Cronin's interaction with students, and are shocked and saddened by this."

Cronin will be released from custody and into the Supervision of the U.S. Pretrial Office on Wednesday.

He was released with restrictions, including among other things, no contact with minors, or Seattle Academy, no internet devices and he must wear an electronic surveillance and tracking device.

He told investigators he has tried treatment for his sex addiction.

In court Tuesday, his attorney told U.S. District Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida that Cronin knows he needs help and wants help.

His next court date is set for December 8.

The U.S. Attorneys Office said a Grand Jury will consider his case.

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