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Local Shriner Faces Child Porn Charges

whitneyWEB

(Photo from The Melha News, Feb. 2011)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – A Westfield man, who serves as a member of the Melha Shriners, is facing child pornography charges.

Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe says that Tuesday night, his department arrested 61-year-old Gardner Whitney of Westfield at a home on South Westfield Street in Agawam.

Court records indicate that Whitney is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of lascivious posing a child in the nude, one count of indecent assault and battery, and three counts of photographing an unsuspecting nude person.

No other information regarding the case was immediately available.

Thursday afternoon, Al Zippin from the Melha Shriners told ABC40 that Whitney is a member of the Shriners. He adds in a statement that, “We are gathering information on the situation and our main concern right now is for the family and those people involved.”

Jennifer Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney in Hampden County says he did not deny at his bail hearing that he was employed at Suffield Middle School in Connecticut.  She also says that during the hearing he objected to a claim that he was teacher there, but rather indicated that he was paraprofessional.

Whitney pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday in Westfield District Court and is being held on $25,000 bail. He is due back in court on February 22.

 


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