Former elementary principal pleads not guilty - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former elementary principal pleads not guilty

Robert William Burke Robert William Burke

The former principal of Sageville Elementary School in Dubuque has pleaded not guilty in federal court to knowingly receiving child porn.

Robert Burke entered the plea in federal court in Cedar Rapids Friday morning.

The judge ruled Burke has the ability to pay for his own attorney, and canceled an upcoming detention hearing to give Burke time to hire a lawyer.

A criminal complaint alleges that Burke used a computer and the Internet to receive images of child pornography between January and June of this year.

According to the complaint, an FBI agent in Washington D.C. downloaded eight images of child pornography from a computer that was later traced to Burke's home.

The U.S. Attorney's Offices says that during an interview, Burke admitted he had placed a hidden video camera in a boys' bathroom at the school, and the camera had produced video images of students who were using the bathroom.

Burke says he did not touch any children in a sexual manner.

If convicted, Burke faces between 5 and 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and at least 5 years of supervised release following any prison sentence.

At an emergency meeting of the Dubuque School Board on June 4, the board voted 6-0 to fire Burke. Superintended Larie Godinez had recommended the action after what she said was Burke's admission of guilt.

The former principal is still being held in the Linn County Jail.

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