West Memphis teacher arrested on child pornography charges

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — At West Memphis Academy all the buzz Thursday was about the math teacher who had been arrested.

"Students were going around saying he was watching inappropriate videos and stuff like that and that he was sent to jail," one 11th-grader told us.

The teacher is 47-year-old Joseph Byrn. Officers showed up at his home in Marion around 5:30 a.m. Thursday after finding internet downloads of child pornography on his home computer.

"It surprises me. A teacher, especially in high school around kids. It's not right," says Ortania Carson of West Memphis.

Some of the parents we talked to had not heard about the arrest, and it's not clear if the school sent out any alerts.

State, federal and local officials were involved in taking Byrn in. They're part of a task force that tracks offenders who use the internet and other online systems to sexually exploit kids.

"'Cause you would think a teacher would try to be a role model for the children," says Tammy Dotson of Marion.

Some of the neighbors where Byrn lives say they don't want to get involved. They saw officers at the house Thursday morning. They have children and they say it's disturbing.

Officers don't believe any local children were involved in Byrn's case.

Students we talked to never imagined something like this.

" He was a cool teacher," one student told us.

Joseph Byrn will be in court Friday morning, and his bond should be set at that time. Officers say he could face additional federal charges.

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