Issaquah school bus driver arrested in child porn case

Issaquah school bus driver arrested in child porn case »Play Video
Andrew Rekdahl
ISSAQUAH, Wash. - A substitute bus driver for the Issaquah School District has been arrested by Homeland Security and charged in federal court with possession and distribution of child pornography, officials said Friday.

The bus driver, identified as Andrew B. Rekdahl, 29, of Carnation was arrested Thursday after federal agents determined he had downloaded and shared child porn using his personal home computer, according to court documents.

Issaquah school district officials said there is no evidence to believe any inappropriate or illegal activities occurred while Rekdahl was working as a school bus driver.

"This is obviously a very serious charge, and our first priority is making sure that he acted as a professional at all times while driving for us," said Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen.

Issaquah District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said Rekdahl was cleared through the district's mandatory state and federal background checks before he started driving in November, and both showed a clean record. The district also never received complaints or concerns about this driver during his time with the district.

After the child porn allegations, district administrators immediately stopped using Rekdahl. The district is also investigating footage of him driving his routes.

According to federal court documents filed in the case, Homeland Security investigators discovered someone with the screen name of "Hboyandy" was making child porn videos and photos available via a file-sharing program over the Internet.

Agents eventually tracked down the suspect's Internet Protocol (IP) address and determined it was assigned to Rekdahl, court documents say. Investigators also were able to determine that Rekdahl was the only one with access to the IP address.

A search warrant was issued and agents found more than 194 images of suspected child pornography on Rekdahl's computer, court files say. The images included photos of young boys engaged in sexual activity.

According to the case file, Rekdahl admitted he had downloaded and traded child porn over the Internet, and he was placed under arrest.

He was then charged with one count of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child porn in U.S. District Court. Friday, he was released into his father's custody with no bail, though he will be monitored with an electronic ankle GPS system.

Rekdahl's ties to education run deep. Prior to becoming a bus driver he worked two other school jobs, including a five-year stint as a science teacher at Eastside Catholic. Rekdahl was so popular at the school that when he was diagnosed with cancer, the entire community rallied around him. The school paid his COBRA health insurance, while parents and students coordinated fundraisers.

Now members of that community are trying to make sense of Friday's news.

"I think it's a combination of disbelief and sadness," said Sister Mary Tracy, president and head of school at Eastside Catholic. "For Andrew and also for his family, because they've been through so much."