June 19, 2024

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Man jailed on child porn charges drove buses for CNY school district, Centro

Auburn, N.Y. – A former bus driver for Centro and a Central New York school district is in jail awaiting prosecution on felony child pornography charges, federal prosecutors said.

Deryk Burdick, 32, a former bus driver and part-time messenger for the Skaneateles School district , was arrested on Dec. 20, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

Over the past few years, Burdick has held jobs with two school districts and First Student, a company that operates school buses. At the time of his arrest, he was employed as a driver for adults with special needs through Suburban Transportation, according to court documents.

In court documents, federal prosecutors describe his work history as “somewhat spotty” and stated that it appears Burdick attempted inappropriate contact with a fourth-grade student while he was working as a bus driver in February 2021. At that time he was working in the Skaneateles School District.

Burdick worked for First Student and drove school buses in the Skaneateles district between December 2020 and March 2021, according to Skaneateles School Superintendent Eric Knuth. He also worked part-time for the district as a messenger, he said.

Burdick was fired from the Skaneateles district on March 2, 2021, Knuth said. He had not been assigned to any Skaneateles bus route since Feb. 2, 2021, he said.

Burdick was never charged with attempting inappropriate contact with a minor and denies that claim, according to his defense attorney Assistant Federal Public Defender Gabrielle DiBella.

First Student would not confirm how long Burdick worked for the company or which school districts he worked in.

In 2018, he worked as a substitute janitor and lunch server for the Auburn City School district, school officials said. He only worked for the district from January 2018 to March 2018 when he was fired, they said.

In 2020, Burdick also worked as a part-time bus operator for Centro, according to public salary records.

This December, Burdick was charged with receipt and possession of child pornography, a felony, federal prosecutors said. Burdick faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, they said.

Burdick was arrested as a result of an investigation into a website selling and distributing digital files of child pornography, federal prosecutors said. Undercover Homeland Security investigators purchased files from the site to confirm they depicted child pornography.

After it was confirmed that all the files contained explicit images of children, the investigators reviewed transaction records for the website, prosecutors said. They identified Burdick as a purchaser of the same pornographic files investigators reviewed, they said.

Burdick allegedly purchased “five packs” of child pornography videos between December 2019 and March 2020, federal prosecutors said.

On Dec. 17, investigators received a search warrant for Burdick’s Auburn home, they said. Homeland Security and State Police executed the warrant on Dec. 20.

During the search of Burdick’s home, law enforcement discovered a laptop computer that contained hundreds of images and videos depicting child pornography, federal prosecutors said.

During an interview with law enforcement, Burdick said he had purchased child pornography from the website that was originally under investigation and downloaded them onto his laptop, according to court documents.

Burdick is currently being held in Broome County Correctional Facility while he awaits trial, DiBella said.

Prosecutors have requested that anyone with information relevant to the investigation contact Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Brad Brechler at 315-569-9155.

Staff writer Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? You can reach her at [email protected].

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