A Denton police officer arrested Wednesday is accused of distributing child pornography, according to records filed in the Texas Eastern District.
Officer David Schoolcraft, a 15-year veteran of the Denton Police Department, was arrested Wednesday by the FBI on charges that were not disclosed at the time. Federal and municipal agencies declined to release the charges until after his initial court appearance Thursday.
According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday, Schoolcraft is accused of distributing child pornography on or about Dec. 23-29, 2020. Following the initial hearing, Schoolcraft was ordered to remain in federal custody.
The affidavit was still sealed Thursday afternoon following Schoolcraft’s initial hearing.
The criminal complaint cited U.S. Code 2252A(a)(2)(A), which claims Schoolcraft knowingly received or distributed child pornography through any means of interstate or foreign commerce, mail or shipment, or through a computer.
Convicted offenders can face between five and 20 years in prison as well as fines.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12. Schoolcraft was assigned a federal public defender after testifying under oath that he’s financially unable to hire an attorney.
Schoolcraft has been a part of the Denton Police Department’s patrol division for his entire 15 years there. He was placed on administrative leave following his arrest. A Denton Record-Chronicle database of city employees showed he was hired in 2006 and was earning about $83,807 in 2019.
Denton police spokesperson Allison Beckwith said the Police Department was informed of the arrest before it happened but didn’t immediately know what the charges were.
Beckwith confirmed Schoolcraft is on paid administrative leave due to Texas Local Government Code 143.056. According to the law, he would be suspended without pay if he’s indicted for a felony or officially charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor.
“Termination or reinstatement would occur at the conclusion of the criminal and administrative investigation,” Beckwith said.
The department also cited Chapter 143.090 on why they weren’t releasing a photo of Schoolcraft. The law says departments can’t release photos of police officers unless they’ve been charged with an offense by indictment.