Former Thomson middle school band teacher arrested on sex charges

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, February 24, 2010

THOMSON,Ga.-- A former McDuffie County band teacher is not making music --  instead he's facing it. Authorities have now arrested and charged 30 year-old Philip Bradley Pirkle, a former middle school music teacher. Pirkle is charged in connection to an inappropriate relationship with a 14 year-old girl. Investigators say he allegedly engaged in conversation with the teen on the internet over email and a MySpace account.

"It was a student and it involved emails," says Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Gary Nicholson.

Back in July 2009,  the GBI was contacted by McDuffie County and Thomson authorities to look into Pirkle's alleged involvment with the student. They say he engaged in an inappropriate conversation with the teen on the social site by bantering back and forth in a conversation of a sexual nature. GBI agent Gary Nicholson says emails and other images on Pirkle's siezed computer led to the charges.

"The charges basically involve the emails of an inappropriate nature with a minor and also the possession of child pornography," adds NIcholson.

According to court documents, Pirkle also allegedly admitted to having sex with a student. After he started chatting with the 14 year-old, the teenager's mother told authorities. Pirkle and the girl also alledgely discussed meeting each other for sex.

"There are predators that live on the internet and any child that's using the internet needs to be supervised," says Nicholson.  "Parents need to know what their children are doing."

Pirkle, a former Teacher of the Year, was the Band Director at Thomson Middle School for many years. When the allegations surfaced last summer,he resigned from his position. It was two weeks before the current school year started.
  
In addition, Agent Nicholson says the GBI Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force checked Pirkle's computer and found disturbing images of children.

"We have one section in Atlanta who is solely devoted to child pornography and they assisted us in this matter," adds the Agent.
 

The pictures that the agents found may represent potential victims. Nicholson says it is unclear if any of the pictures are of local students.

 "We have no reason to believe right now that they're children right here in the community but it's something we do have to look into," says Nicholson.

Pirkle has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of using a computer to entice a child for indecent purposes.

 

News 12 at 11 o'clock, February 24, 2010

THOMSON,Ga.-- A former McDuffie County band teacher is not making music -- instead he's facing it. Authorities have now arrested and charged 30 year-old Philip Bradley Pirkle, a former middle school music teacher. Pirkle is charged in connection to an inappropriate relationship with a 14 year-old girl. Investigators say he allegedly engaged in conversation with the teen on the internet over email and a MySpace account.

"It was a student and it involved emails," says Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Gary Nicholson.

Back in July 2009, the GBI was contacted by McDuffie County and Thomson authorities to look into Pirkle's alleged involvment with the student. They say he engaged in an inappropriate conversation with the teen on the social site by bantering back and forth in a conversation of a sexual nature. GBI agent Gary Nicholson says emails and other images on Pirkle's siezed computer led to the charges.

"The charges basically involve the emails of an inappropriate nature with a minor and also the possession of child pornography," adds NIcholson.

According to court documents, Pirkle also allegedly admitted to having sex with a student. After he started chatting with the 14 year-old, the teenager's mother told authorities. Pirkle and the girl also alledgely discussed meeting each other for sex.

"There are predators that live on the internet and any child that's using the internet needs to be supervised," says Nicholson. "Parents need to know what their children are doing."

Pirkle, a former Teacher of the Year, was the Band Director at Thomson Middle School for many years. When the allegations surfaced last summer,he resigned from his position. It was two weeks before the current school year started.

In addition, Agent Nicholson says the GBI Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force checked Pirkle's computer and found disturbing images of children.

"We have one section in Atlanta who is solely devoted to child pornography and they assisted us in this matter," adds the Agent.

The pictures that the agents found may represent potential victims. Nicholson says it is unclear if any of the pictures are of local students.

"We have no reason to believe right now that they're children right here in the community but it's something we do have to look into," says Nicholson.

Pirkle has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of using a computer to entice a child for indecent purposes.


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