Last updated: June 11. 2014 4:46PM - 2299 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

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Hazleton man admits

to downloading child porn

A Hazleton man accused of downloading child-pornography videos pleaded guilty Wednesday in Luzerne County Court.

Michael Anthony Portanova, 23, of South Pine Street, entered his plea before county Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III.

According to a police affidavit in the case, Portanova admitted downloading videos and images of pre-teen children engaging in sex acts, and that he would masturbate while viewing the images.

“He stated that he would tell himself not to download the child pornography each time he downloaded it,” Portanova told police, according to the affidavit.

Pierantoni denied a petition for nominal bail. Sentencing is set for Sept. 18.

Portanova will be subject to an assessment by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to determine whether he should be classified as a sexually-violent predator, according to court documents.

Conference set for ex-teacher

accused of student liaisons

A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for Aug. 1 in the case of a former Wyoming Valley West English teacher accused of unlawful contact with minors.

Lauren Harrington-Cooper 31, of Winola Avenue, Kingston, was initially arrested by Plymouth police and Luzerne County detectives on Dec. 18 in connection with an alleged encounter with an 18-year-old student.

While free on $25,000 unsecured bail, she was arrested twice in January by county detectives and police in Plymouth and Kingston when other male students claimed they had sexual encounters with her.

In April, Harrington-Cooper waived her right to a preliminary hearing, sending charges to Luzerne County Court.

The conference will be held before county Judge Michael T. Vough.

Harrington-Cooper initially was suspended by the Wyoming Valley West School Board after her first arrest. She resigned on Jan. 22.

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