Teacher arrested on child porn charges was also youth minister

Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 23:17:11-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Parents were stunned to learn a teacher who coached high school girls in Hanover County was arrested on child porn charges.

James Steele uttered words of disbelief Friday evening, after hearing that his 16-year-old daughter's case manager at Hanover High School was charged with having child pornography.

"He was a case manager for her special ed conditions," Steele said. "It's absolutely disgusting."

James Steele

James Steele

Hanover deputies charged 28-year-old Gabriel Fowler with six counts of possession of child pornography.

In addition to working with special education students, Hanover Schools confirmed he was a JV Girls' Volleyball Coach at Hanover High, and an assistant JV Girls' basketball coach at Patrick Henry High.

Gabriel Fowler

Gabriel Fowler

Crime Insider Sources said Fowler allegedly received pornographic photos from a student he knew, but not one who he worked with in the schools.

"Why would he even have a young girl's cell phone number?" Steele asked.

Sources confirmed Fowler was a youth minister at a Church in Ashland, but he was removed from that role in September of last year.

News of the arrest comes just days after Henrico Police arrested former Deep Run High School teacher Benjamin Britton for allegedly sending inappropriate photos and videos to a student. He is also 28-years-old.

L. Robert Bolling

L. Robert Bolling

"It is very inappropriate for adults to have any kind of sexual contact with children at all," L. Robert Bolling, the CEO of ChildSavers, said after hearing of the two arrests.

Bolling said adults engaging in this type of behavior with minors erodes the juvenile's trust in adults, and teaches them that type of behavior is OK when it's not.

"It doesn't build healthy relationships between children and adults, and our role as adults is to protect children not to harm them," Bolling said.

If you have any information about either of those cases, please contact police. Witnesses can also send news tips here.

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