Former Darien crossing guard arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography
A former Darien schools crossing guard has been arrested for possession of child pornography charges in the second degree, according to Darien Police.
Daniel Poccia, 66, of Hollow Tree Ridge Road, turned himself in around 1 p.m. Tuesday, accompanied by his Attorney Mark Sherman.
Sherman, while declining to comment on specifics of the case, said that his client has no criminal history of any kind. Darien Police also confirmed Poccia has no previous criminal history and was subjected to a pre-employment background check prior to being hired by the Town of Darien.
On Feb. 28, a Darien Police officer assigned to the “Tactical Investigation Unit of Southwestern Connecticut” received a Cyber-Tipline Report from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, indicating that images of suspected child pornography had been downloaded to an IP address located in Darien.
An investigation was initiated which included obtaining search warrants to obtain more detailed information about the location and ownership of the IP address.
On March 3, an Ex Parte Order for disclosure of records was submitted to the Internet Service Provider for the IP address in question. On March 20, the Internet Service Provider indicated the “basic subscriber” information belonged to Daniel P. Poccia of Hollow Tree Ridge Road.
Police then determined that Poccia was currently employed in a part-time capacity as a crossing guard for the Town of Darien. Poccia was hired as a crossing guard on Aug. 26, 2019, and last worked on March 11, just before Darien Public Schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the next week, officers secured a search and seizure warrant for Poccia’s residence. On March 31, Darien Police detectives, assisted by patrol officers, searched the house. Officers seized 20 printed images depicting child pornography. Several electronic items were also seized, police said.
At this point, Poccia was advised that his employment with the Town of Darien was terminated based on this investigation.
Evidence seized from the residence was forensically examined and analyzed. It was determined that no additional evidence related to child pornography were present other than the printed images seized during the execution of the search warrant.
At the conclusion of the forensic examination, officers submitted an arrest warrant affidavit to the Stamford Superior Court. On April 14, the arrest warrant was approved and signed by the Honorable Judge White.
Poccia was then fingerprinted, photographed, and fully processed for second-degree possession of child pornography.
He was released on a $150,000 court set bond and is scheduled to appear in court on June 15.
Darien Police said there is no evidence to suggest that Poccia had any inappropriate contact with any minors from Darien or any other area, nor is there any evidence that local minors are depicted in the images. Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley could not be reached for comment.
No further details are being released pertaining to this investigation, according to police.
Sherman said the Covid-19 quarantine has pushed the internet to its legal limits, at times making the line between legal content and illegal dark web content blurry.
“Connecticut arrests arising from dark web searches are not always the product of an intentional search for illegal child pornography. Some dark web sites can transfer child pornography without the user’s knowledge. We will investigate these accusations and respond at the appropriate time during the court process,” Sherman said.