UPDATE: A West Branch man accused of possession of more than 1,000 child pornography images was employed at a local daycare.
According to an email sent to parents with students in the West Branch Community School District, 22-year-old Brady Verlo was employed by the West Branch Day Care Center at the time of his arrest last week in Iowa City for six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. According to the email to parents, the West Branch Day Care rented out school facilities to “deliver services” for some students. West Branch schools superintendent Kevin Hatfield said he didn’t know Verlo’s role with the day care, but he did interact with students.
“He works with students in different capacities,” Hatfield said Monday. “It is an ongoing police matter. For us, it’s just a time to make sure we’re cooperating with everybody.”
A message left at the West Branch Day Care Center was not returned Monday.
According to a criminal complaint, the Iowa City Police Department was involved in a federal child pornography investigation that led them to Verlo. Police said Verlo admitting to having approximately 400 photos and videos depicting child pornography on his phone and more than 1,000 child pornography images on his home computer. Verlo’s phone and computer have been seized and additional charges are likely, according to the criminal complaint.
Hatfield said he did not know if any of the images depicted West Branch students or children who attend the West Branch Day Care Center.
“We’re not jumping to any conclusions,” he said.
Iowa City police department public information officer Sgt. Vicki Lalla and West Branch police Chief Mike Horihan – who parents were directed to direct their questions to – could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Verlo remains in custody on a $30,000 cash bond. Each count of sexual exploitation of a minor carries a potential two year prison sentence at the state level. Verlo would likely face harsher sentences if his case is moved to federal court.