Substitute teacher for Pentucket School District charged with possessing child pornography

Kenneth Niven, of Merrimac, pleaded not guilty.

A man who worked as a substitute teacher in the Pentucket School District was arraigned on child pornography charges Tuesday, according to the Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office. 

The 24-year-old man, Kenneth Niven, is a resident of Merrimac. He served as an “on-call” substitute for the district. Niven pleaded not guilty in Newburyport District Court, Blodgett’s office said. Niven was charged with possession of child pornography and photographing an unsuspecting nude person. A judge set bail at $15,000 and ordered Niven to have no contact with people under the age of 18. He is also restricted from using social media. 


An investigation by Merrimac police discovered two alleged images of child pornography on Niven’s phone, according to Blodgett’s office. The investigation is ongoing. 

Pentucket School District serves Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury. Niven previously worked at Sweetsir School and Donaghue School, both in Merrimac, according to a letter written by Pentucket Superintendent Justin Bartholomew. 

The district took further actions against Niven.

“The investigation is in its early stages, and we do not have further details to release at this time. However, I can share that this individual, who had been given a pre-employment background and criminal record check prior to starting as a substitute, has been terminated from their role as an on-call sub, and we have issued a no-trespass order, barring them from all Pentucket Regional School District property,” Bartholomew wrote. 

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 19. 

“We are outraged and disturbed by the allegations presented, and we pledge to continue to assist in whatever way we can with the police investigation,” Bartholomew wrote.


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