Longtime Warren youth coach arrested on child porn charge

East Bay

WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — A child pornography investigation has resulted in the arrest of a youth baseball coach and former youth football coach in Warren, according to Rhode Island State Police.

Michael “Bird” Witherell, 59, was taken into custody Tuesday after detectives executed a search warrant at his Child Street apartment.

State police say the investigation stemmed from a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a Rhode Island resident was transmitting files containing child porn.

Members of the Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force traced the activity to Witherell’s apartment, according to police.

During Tuesday’s search, detectives identified Witherell as the owner of digital media used to possess child porn, police said, adding that they seized his personal cell phone and computer, as well as “numerous printed images depicting child pornography.”

Witherell is expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on a charge of possession of child pornography.

State police say he has been a Warren Little League coach for the past 40 years and coached the East Bay Warriors Pop Warner football team from 1982-2014. There’s no evidence of any current involvement with members of either league, according to police.

The investigation remains active. Anyone with information on Witherell is asked to contact the ICAC Task Force at (401) 921-1170.

Eyewitness News is working to gather more information. Check back for updates.

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