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Monday, March 4, 2024

Eustis Middle School teacher arrested on child pornography charges

A Eustis Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday during a child pornography operation, announced the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. 

Michael Kozierowski
Michael Kozierowski

The MCSO Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, along with members of the Ocala Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations, recently concluded a four-day operation that led to the arrest of six men, including 58-year-old Michael Kozierowski. During this operation, investigators responded to several residences within Marion County that were identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as being associated with persons who may be in possession of child sexual abuse material, or CSAM. 

During the operation, investigators spoke with the persons identified in the NCMEC tips and conducted searches of their electronic devices. Each of the individuals were found to be in possession of CSAM. All of them were arrested for possession of child pornography and transported to the Marion County Jail. Additional charges may be forthcoming as investigators continue to review their electronic devices. 

Kozierowski was identified as a teacher and volleyball coach at Eustis Middle School, located at 18725 Bates Avenue, and the Eustis Police Department was notified of his arrest. 

According to an arrest report from MCSO, a deputy received a cyber tip from NCMEC generated by an electronic service provider reporting CSAM had been uploaded to their online infrastructure from an IP address issued by Spectrum. A legal demand was served to Spectrum, and the legal response documented the IP address belonged to “Mike” Kozierowski of 12221 SE 133rd Terrace in Ocklawaha. 

On Tuesday, multiple law enforcement officers responded to the address to follow-up on the case. They made contact with Kozierowski at the front gate of the residence and explained to him the reason they were there. He reported that he was the sole resident and occupant of the home, the report said. 

The officers requested to see the content on his electronic devices to ensure there was no unlawful content on them. Kozierowski immediately became visibly nervous as his hands began shaking and his voice inflection increased. He told law enforcement that he was a teacher at Eustis Middle School and would not allow them to view the content on his devices without a lawyer present, the report said. 

Kozierowski eventually walked back into his residence. After a short review of the facts of the case, the deputies decided there was probable cause to obtain a search warrant. They again made contact with Kozierowski, this time at the front door of his residence, and removed him from the area, the report said. 

Once the residence was secure, the deputies contacted a detective to draft and obtain a search warrant for the residence, which was signed by a judge that same day. Personnel from MSCO and OPD executed the warrant and found a desktop computer sitting on a small table with only a bottle of lubricant next to it, the report said. 

A senior digital forensic technician analyzed the device on scene. Contained on the computer were 10 files depicting child pornography, at least one of which depicted a child being sexually battered. Many of the files had been recently downloaded and viewed, the report said. 

The technician also found a large amount of video and image files contained in compressed files on the physical storage of the computer. Due to the manner in which the other items were stored, further analysis of the device is ongoing and expected to reveal substantially more CSAM on the computer, the report said. 

Much of the CSAM Kozierowski possessed and viewed depicted children that are around the age of the children he has daily care, custody and control over. His release poses serious risk to the community due to his access to children and sexual attraction to them, the report said.  

The report described the weight of the evidence as being insurmountable due to Kozierowski being the sole occupant of the residence, the only person with access to the devices, the material being stored directly on the device and many of the files being opened or viewed as recently as Sunday. 

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