• Former St. Cloud school resource officer arrested on child porn charges

    By: Jason Kelly

    Updated:

    ST. CLOUD, Fla. - A St. Cloud man was arrested on child pornography charges, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday evening.

    Albert Vernon Kraus Jr. was arrested on 10 counts of possession of a photo of the sexual performance of a child, Osceola County Maj. Jacob Ruiz said.

    The St. Cloud Police Department told Channel 9 on Thursday evening that Kraus is a retired police officer who served as a reserve officer after his retirement.


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    "From 2007 to 2014, he served as an (school resource officer) at St. Cloud Middle School," a police spokesman said. "As a reserve police officer, some of his duties were to fill in as a backup SRO where needed, to include St. Cloud High School and St. Cloud Middle School."

    Police said Kraus was no longer a reserve officer at the time of his arrest, but they did not say when he stopped serving as one.

    "We take these allegations seriously, and I’m disgusted by them," St. Cloud police Chief Pete Gauntlett said. "Incidents like these violate the trust and bond this department has built with our community."

    Read: Firefighter removed from job after being accused of performing lewd act in front of child

    Sheriff's Office detectives said they received two tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Feb. 18.

    Investigators said they searched a home on Valley Forge Drive near Old Canoe Creek and Neptune roads and seized numerous electronics Tuesday.

    "A forensic analysis of the devices seized revealed numerous files of child pornography," Ruiz said. "At this time, there are no known live victims."

    St. Cloud police said in a 2014 Facebook post about Kraus' retirement that he was employed with the agency for 30 years -- five years as a telecommunications operator and 25 years as a police officer.

    "Officer Kraus has established an exceptional relationship with the St. Cloud Middle School and Michigan Avenue Elementary faculty, staff and students," the post said. "His rapport between the schools, faculty and students has helped improve the police department's relationship with the community and has made a memorable impact in the children and adolescents of this community."

    The post said Kraus was part of the St. Cloud Police Department Explorer Program, the agency's softball team and the Special Olympics.

    Kraus served as a patrol officer, a patrol sergeant, an Osceola County Investigative Bureau agent, a field training officer, a bicycle patrol officer, an evidence crime scene technician, a Breathalyzer operator and a K-9 handler, the post said.

    Read: Computer repair shop finds more than 100 images of child porn on Eustis man’s computer, police say

    The incident remains under investigation. As of Friday afternoon, Kraus had bonded out of jail.

    No other details were given.

    Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 407-348-2222 or Crimeline at 800-423-8477.

    Check back and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates to this developing story.

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