A 28-year-old who has taught at Horace Mann and Friends Seminary and is currently a counselor at the 92nd Street Y was arrested yesterday on charges related to child pornography possession. Federal prosecutors say they found 43 CDs with "illicit images and videos of children engaged in sex acts" in John Thomas's Harlem apartment.

Apparently the feds "traced the Internet path of the lurid videos to his doorstep." (Read the charges.) The Daily News reports, "The porn featured children around the same ages of those he taught and counseled." Which means that when a News reporter descended on parents of campers, parents offered quotes like, "It's awful! There's a lot of sick people out there... . It's so scary." However, Thomas' friend said at the courthouse, "This is not him. He has never been in trouble before."

A federal prosecutor asked for electronic monitoring of Thomas, noting, "There are kids everywhere and it's to keep him away from kids. The danger here is not just his employment, there are playgrounds everywhere," while his lawyer argued, "Mr. Thomas has been a teacher for five years and there have been no allegations of acts like this. The charges are severe indeed but they are limited to viewing." In the end, the judge rejected monitoring but said Thomas had to "avoid anywhere where children congregate."

Thomas was supposed to start teaching at the Bank Street School this fall. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.