Authorities continue child pornography investigation: New charge possible in case involving a former teacher
A second investigation into a former teacher accused of creating, possessing and distributing child pornography is nearly complete, as evidence could lead to a new charge of molestation, according to a law enforcement officer.
Karsten Gronwold, who is being held in Sacramento County Main Jail without bail awaiting a status conference next week, was arrested on federal child pornography charges Sept. 1. But a lengthy investigation by Sgt. Don Atkinson of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department discovered evidence that Gronwold allegedly molested children within the past six to seven years.
In addition, Atkinson said he conducted a two-hour interview with Gronwold’s wife, Cindy, on Friday in the presence of Redding attorney Stephen Carlton.
Atkinson believes she was not involved in her husband’s allegedly sordid activity.
Cindy Gronwold declined to comment. Carlton did the same.
More than 20 parents contacted Atkinson whose children had contact with Gronwold who either babysat them or were friends of his children.
About four or five men came forward as potential victims when they were young, Atkinson said, adding the statute of limitations for filing charges are five years after the crime was reported.
No wrongdoing was not found in Gronwold’s career as a teacher as well as at Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School where he was set to teach second grade four days before he was arrested.
Yet Atkinson said there are indicators Gronwold, a teacher with Lake Tahoe Unified School District since 1990, used a computer after school hours to participate in chat rooms.
There he would speak to other males about photographing and trading sexual content of children, Atkinson said.
Atkinson’s investigation reached back nearly 20 years when Gronwold worked at Heavenly Mountain Resort. There is no indication Gronwold did anything illegal with youths while a swim coach. Prior to past reports, Gronwold was not a troop leader for the Boy Scouts nor was he involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe.
Authorities with the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crime Task Force began investigating Internet accounts with the username “kaboyb41b2006” containing child pornography. The investigation led to Gronwold, who was indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.
He faces a maximum penalty of 190 years in prison if convicted.
El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said he’ll give federal prosecutors discretion whether they would want to use evidence from Atkinson’s investigation to bolster their case or file new charges.