Computer confiscated from church in Starr case

July 16, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

The probe into former Boyle County Middle School teacher Mark Starr widened Thursday when a computer he used while a youth minister was confiscated from a church near Junction City.

Kentucky State Police Detective Chris Crockett took the computer from the basement of Alum Springs First Church of God, 3758 Alum Springs Road, Thursday morning, said church secretary Bonnie Maddox.

Starr, who is under federal and state indictment on pornography related charges, was youth minister at the 120-member church for much of 2002, resigning in December of that year over theological differences, Maddox said.

During his time at the church, Starr received a surplus computer from the Boyle County school system, repaired it and brought it to the church, Maddox said. Maddox said she didn't know what that computer was used for but said Starr also maintained another computer in his church office that he took with him when he left.


Starr, 33, was arrested Monday in western Kentucky on a federal charges that he produced and possessed child pornography, including "numerous visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct." Earlier this month, Starr pleaded not guilty in Boyle Circuit Court to state charges of using a minor less than 16 years old in a sexual performance and tampering with physical evidence.

Computer is at least fourth one confiscated

The charges against Starr stem from material recovered from the hard drive of at least one of the computers he had access to. The computer taken from the church Thursday is at least the fourth one confiscated by authorities since the investigation began.

Starr taught technology and career exploration at Boyle Middle for four years before being fired in March after school officials investigated a complaint from two girls who claimed he videotaped them while they were changing clothes in a classroom at the school. State police then became involved, confiscating computers from the school and Starr's home that led to his indictment on state charges related to another incident at the school involving a 13-year-old girl whom Starr allegedly taped in a "sexual performance" with the girl's consent.

Lexington TV station WLEX-18 reported on its Web site earlier this week that Starr had a 13-year-old girl living with him when he was first arrested last month. The girl was a former student at Boyle Middle and now lives with her grandmother, the station reported.

Maddox said she notified state police about Starr's computer at the church in March when the story first surfaced, but Crockett didn't come to pick it up until Thursday, she said. "It was all volunteering the information on our part," Maddox said.

KSP Capt. Brad Bates said the state agency is still investigating the case but could not comment on it because U.S. Attorney Gregory Van Tatenhove's office in Lexington has taken over as lead agency in the investigation. No one in the U.S. Attorney's office could be reached for comment today.

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