Counselor Charged With Kid Porn, Molestation

MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) — A Contra Costa County juvenile hall counselor was arraigned Monday on charges that he possessed thousands of child pornography images and molested at least one boy shown in them.

Thomas Jewell, 53, was charged with 46 counts of molestation, one count of posing a child for the purpose of pornography, one count of showing pornographic material to a child and one count of child pornography possession. He did not enter a plea.

Jewell worked as a counselor for the Contra Costa County Health Services’ mental health division, which assigned him to work at the Martinez juvenile hall, authorities said. He also ran a private counseling and mentoring business called YES Enterprises.

Investigators said they found 13,000 child porn images on Jewell’s computers during search of his Pleasant Hill home last month.

Prosecutors initially charged him only with pornography, then amended the complaint after investigators identified one alleged molestation victim, a boy between 12 and 15 years old, in the images. Deputy District Attorney Dana Filkowski would not say if the boy was a juvenile hall client.

“We believe there are and will be additional victims,” Filkowski said.

The county counsel’s office, speaking on behalf of Health Services, declined to comment, citing privacy in personnel matters.

A judge increased Jewell’s bail from $1 million to $5.8 million Monday in light of the new molestation charges. He’s due back in court on Jan. 6.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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