Burke Co. teacher connected to international porn ring

Credit: Provided

Michael Andrew Alexander

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by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 12:52 AM

HILDEBRAN, N.C. – A Burke County teacher has been charged in connection with an international porn ring bust.

Federal, state and local police are trying to determine if a teacher at Hildebran Elementary School coerced students into posing for pictures that investigators say became part of an international child porn ring.

Michael Alexander, 54, was arrested Wednesday on nine criminal charges including taking indecent liberties with a child and sexually exploiting a minor.  Alexander lives in Morganton.

Parents at the school were shaking their heads after hearing about what happened.

"The kids respected him and they loved him.  It is just devastating," said Ashley Coffay.

The investigation started with the arrest of a man recently in Barcelona, Spain.

Investigators say he was in possession of pictures and video of young girls under the age of 12 performing various sexual acts.

Some of the girls were wearing Hildebran t-shirts and that prompted a call from Europol to the FBI and eventually to agents from the State Bureau of Investigation who arrested Alexander.

“Authorities in Barcelona, Spain arrested a suspect, Javier Alvarez Varela, who was involved in a take down known as Operation ‘Filipo,’” the report states.  That arrest helped lead authorities to Alexander.

Ashley Coffay's eyes teared up as she described her family's relationship with Alexander.

"My daughter was friends with his daughter and we were pretty close," she said, adding that her daughter said nothing unusual had ever happened to her regarding Alexander.

Investigators spent much of Thursday at the school trying to determine which if any students had appeared in the pictures and video.

Alexander is being held on a $1 million bond.
 

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