Eric Von Kohorn, a former Wilton preschool paraprofessional, likely faces two years in prison after pleading guilty to one charge of illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree. He will be formally sentenced Oct. 9. Von Kohorn entered the plea July 16 at Superior Court in Bridgeport.
Von Kohorn was originally arrested by state police Aug. 20, 2014. He was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance.
According to one of Von Kohorn’s attorneys, Jason Sheffield of Peters Rubin and Sheffield in Atlanta, Ga., Von Kohorn entered an Alfred Plea, which allowed him to plead guilty although he disagreed with the state’s evidence. He took this step, Sheffield said, because the state’s evidence against him was great and he realized a jury trial could have resulted in a guilty verdict with a greater sentence.
The sentence the judge put on record, Sheffield said, “will most likely be two years [in prison] and 10 years of probation” and registration on the sex offender’s registry.
In addition to reducing the charge against Von Kohorn, the state also dropped the second charge of promoting a minor in an obscene performance.
“We worked very hard to help the state understand who Eric really is,” Sheffield told The Bulletin. “One of the issues that immediately came about because of the allegation itself was … fear in the minds of parents … he was a child predator and had done something to a child. We tried to respect the fears of the parents, we worked with the detective and superintendent of schools to demonstrate he is not a child predator, never committed any hands-on offenses…”
Sheffield said Von Kohorn submitted to a polygraph test and psychological testing to prove he “does not have a sustained sexual interest in school-age children … he is not a danger to anyone.”
He added Von Kohorn has the support of community members including people he worked with here in Wilton as well as the people he works for now.
Sheffield would not say where Von Kohorn works or what he does specifically, but described him as a an accomplished musician and literary expert with leadership skills that “he incorporates into what he’s doing on a daily basis.”
Von Kohorn was arrested after an investigation by the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Investigations team, which commands the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
School district officials became aware of the investigation on June 11, 2014, and placed Von Kohorn on administrative leave immediately. He formally resigned his position on June 16, 2014.
Von Kohorn was hired by the school district in 2007 after undergoing a background check.