Former South St. Paul Schools official sentenced to prison, probation for possessing child pornography

The former Director of Technology for South St. Paul Schools will serve time in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography.

63-year-old Paul Michael Brashear, of Hudson, Wisconsin, was sentenced last Friday to three years in prison followed by four years of probation, court documents show.

Brashear must also register as a sex offender and complete a sex offender evaluation. He cannot use any device with internet capabilities, barring permission from law enforcement, and he also cannot have unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

Brashear was initially charged on March 13, 2023, with one count of possession of child pornography. However, the criminal complaint was amended on March 27, and nine additional counts were added.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and the other nine counts were dismissed but read in during his sentencing.

RELATED: Former South St. Paul school district employee charged with possession of child pornography

According to a statement of probable cause, investigators received information from a cyber tip line on March 6 that an image described as a “prepubescent minor” engaged in sexual behavior was possessed by Brashear.

At around 8:40 a.m. on March 10, 2023, investigators searched Brashear’s home, where he told authorities he didn’t have to save images for his job, and added if police found a pornographic image, it would have likely been on a temporary browser and wasn’t intentionally uploaded anywhere.

The document goes on to say Brashear told police he had browsed for pornography previously and found things “he didn’t want to see,” and also confirmed he had come across images and videos that obviously included children.

Eventually, Brashear admitted to storing child pornography on a flash drive but said there wasn’t anything on his work computer or stored on his computer that he knew of.

In addition, the document states Brashear’s wife had caught him looking at child pornography years ago and twice confronted him about it.

South St. Paul Public Schools announced on March 13 that Brashear had been arrested on probable cause for child pornography possession and said he had been placed on administrative leave.

Investigators analyzed images found on the flash drive Brashear said was his and, of the nearly 600 files checked for child-sensitive abuse material, more than 200 were labeled as child exploitation material that is age difficult or deemed as non-child abuse material, 18 were found as child abuse material and 95 other images were labeled as being pertinent, the document says.

When investigators opened a folder to view the images, they found images of suspected child pornography involving kids ranging in age from pubescent to toddlers.

District officials said no students in the district appear to be involved and they removed Brashear’s access to all technology systems, including all systems that contain data on staff members and students.