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Polk coach charged with child porn back in court Friday

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POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

An assistant high school football coach, charged with possessing child pornography, will face a judge for the second time Friday. Meanwhile, crisis counselors will be on the Lake Gibson High School campus for the students who need someone to talk to.

James Shannon Arnett, 41, is an ESE teacher and defensive coordinator at Lake Gibson High.  Polk County deputies arrested him on campus Wednesday night.

Officials said Arnett lost a thumb drive last week. A student found it and took it home, before going to officials with information that the drive was filled with thousands of pictures.  

On the drive, officials discovered downloaded photos of nude females and pictures of clothed female students from Lake Gibson High School.

"You could tell that he was taking shots, candid shots, if you will, of girls whenever they would lean over a desk, whenever they weren't paying attention to him. There's no indication at all that these girls cooperated or knew that their photograph had been taken," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Arnett, who is cooperating with officials, admitted to everything except the child pornography, Sheriff Judd said.

He told officials he was first exposed to pornography at the age of 9, admitting to deputies he was addicted to porn and "had a problem."

"In my estimation, folks, he was in the process of grooming children. We know of at least two children that we are going to talk to, to see if there was any inappropriate contact with them. But we fear that there may be other victims out there," Judd said.

Arnett faced a judge Thursday on two felony counts of possession of child pornography.  His bond was set at $40,000.  Arnett has another hearing set for Friday on a newly added charge of unlawful access to a computer system.

Judd said the investigation is ongoing. Officials are trying to talk to students to see if any of them had physical contact with Arnett.

Polk County Public Schools said Arnett is on paid administrative leave. He was employed as a teacher at Lakeland High School from 1997-2003. He taught at Lake Gibson High from 2003-2008, when he left the district. He returned to Lake Gibson in 2011.

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