PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — An employee of a private school in Portsmouth was arrested Tuesday following a sting operation by Rhode Island State Police.
Douglas Marcel, 32, and his girlfriend, Kaytlin Rogala, 30, were both charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver after police executed a search warrant at the couple’s East Main Road apartment.
Marcel, who police say is a classroom behavioral specialist at the Bradley School, was also charged with indecent solicitation of a child and electronically disseminating indecent material to a minor.
At this time, there’s no evidence that any students at the school were victimized, according to police. Elena Falcone-Relvas, a spokesperson for The Bradley Schools, released a statement Tuesday saying Marcel has been suspended in light of the charges.
“The Bradley School in Portsmouth is extremely disturbed by the charges brought against one of our employees,” she wrote. “Upon notification of the incident, the employee was immediately suspended pending legal investigation. The allegations against the employee do not involve any of the Bradley School students. The Bradley School Portsmouth is cooperating with the State Police investigation.”
Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force began investigating Marcel after being contacted by Pennsylvania State Police regarding a Rhode Island resident indecently soliciting a 14-year-old girl online.
Police say Marcel engaged in a series of communications last month with a person he believed to be the 14-year-old girl. The conversation “quickly became sexually explicit,” according to police, and Marcel allegedly solicited the girl to engage in sexual activity and sent her “indecent material.”
Police obtained a warrant for Marcel’s arrest, as well as a search warrant for his apartment.
On Tuesday, members of the ICAC Task Force and Portsmouth Police Department entered the residence and seized several pieces of digital media in connection with the child exploitation investigation involving Marcel, along with suspected heroin and items associated with its delivery, police said.
Marcel and Rogala, who were home at the time, were taken into custody.
Both were arraigned Tuesday and held without bail on the heroin charge. Marcel was also issued $50,000 surety bail for the child exploitation charges with special conditions that he have restricted internet use and no contact with minors.