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      Local coach arrested on child porn charges

      A Brewerton man is facing federal charges after being accused of producing child pornography.

      The U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse says 25-year-old Joshua Rice of Brewerton has been charged with production of child pornography. The federal criminal complaint alleges Rice enticed a 12-year-old child to take sexually explicit images and videos of himself to send to Rice via text message.

      The Central Square School District says Rice was a volunteer with the Central Square High School wrestling team. School Superintendent Carolyn Costello released a statement today about Rice, saying in part "As a volunteer working with our students, we required that he be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check through the New York State Education Department. The background check was completed by the New York State Education Department, and the requisite clearance was provided. We have not been notified, nor do we have reason to believe, that any of our wrestlers are involved in the current investigation."

      U.S. District Judge David Hurd ordered Rice to be held without bail pending a detention hearing. If convicted, Rice faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 30 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of no less than five years.

      The arrest was made after an investigation by the New York State Police and the U.S. Secret Service. The effort is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

      Here is the complete statement from Superintendent Costello:

      "The Central Square Central School District is just becoming aware of the allegations surrounding the arrest of a volunteer coach and has only that information which has been released to the media. We have not been involved in the investigation by law enforcement authorities but offer them any assistance that may be needed from the District.

      Mr. Rice was a volunteer with the Central Square High School Wrestling Team. As a volunteer working with our students, we required that he be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check through the New York State Education Department. The background check was completed by the New York State Education Department and the requisite clearance was provided. We have not been notified, nor do we have reason to believe, that any of our wrestlers are involved in the current investigation. We encourage our students, parents and anyone in the public who may have information regarding this matter to share such information with the New York State Police.

      I am grateful to the law enforcement community for all of its efforts to keep our children safe within this and other communities. The safety and welfare of our students in all of our school settings is a priority. Although this alleged incident appears to have occurred outside of a school setting, any situations that involve the welfare of children in the greater community are of concern to us in the schools and we are available to provide assistance."

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