A 51-year-old former Newman Catholic School teacher has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of possessing child pornography. In exchange for the plea, 22 other counts of possessing child pornography were dismissed.
Michael Switalski, was arrested March 14, 2014 after investigators said they found 95 inappropriate images of children appearing to be under the of 18 on a flash drive at his home, along with several DVDs.
According to court documents, Switalski was listed as a customer for a Canadian-based child pornography distribution company. The company was shutdown in 2011.
The school district said in a statement in March 2014 Switalski would remain on leave during the investigation. Switalski resigned weeks later.
Newman Catholic Statement issued in March 2014:
Newman Catholic Schools (NCS) is shocked and saddened by the recent arrest of Michael Switalski for suspected possession of child pornography. Representatives of the Department of Justice reported to NCS’ Middle/High School campus late Friday afternoon, and NCS fully cooperated with its investigation. Consistent with standard policy, Mr. Switalski was immediately placed on administrative leave, and he will remain on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigations by both the Department of Justice and NCS. NCS respects Mr. Switalski’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and therefore wishes to speak specifically about its schools and its students’ safety.
Newman Catholic Schools places the safety and well-being of its students as its highest concern. Importantly, the allegations against Mr. Switalski do not involve any images of any student in NCS, and NCS has not received any complaints regarding Mr. Switalski. It is also not suspected that Mr. Switalski misused any computer or network connection of NCS. Moreover, NCS’ network restrictions would have precluded any illicit material from being accessed through the schools’ networks. As a result, NCS was unaware of any computer misuse by Mr. Switalski.
Since 2003 when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s implemented the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Diocese of La Crosse implemented its Safe Environment Program, Mr. Switalski has had six criminal background checks performed, all of which revealed no criminal history.
NCS will continue to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
Any further questions or information about this matter should be directed to Newman Catholic Schools’ President, Dr. Janet Klosinski, at 715-845-5735.
We pray for all who are or may be affected by this sad news and for its prompt resolution.
Newman Catholic Schools is a Catholic educational ministry supported and shared by area Catholic parishes. For more information visit our website at www.newmancatholicschools.com
Switalski is free on $35,000 cash bond.
A sentencing date has been scheduled for June 15.